Connecticut Statewide Needs Assessment Report Released
In October 2022, American School for the Deaf announced the launch of a statewide needs assessment to better understand the ongoing impact that COVID-19 has had on the Connecticut Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing community and their communication accessibility, health, and employment outcomes. Innivee Strategies, a deaf-led company, held 8 focus groups and distributed a community survey to gather this important information. This needs assessment was made possible thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) through the State of Connecticut Office of Aging and Disability Services.
Innivee Strategies has completed analyzing the data and has delivered a final report that identifies the key observations and recommendations based on the community’s input. These include:
- Communication barriers significantly limit deaf signers’ access to healthcare services and exacerbate disparate healthcare outcomes;
- Appropriate interpreting access in healthcare is required in order to ensure deaf patients who primarily use American Sign Language (ASL) obtain equitable care and results;
- Video Relay Interpreting (VRI) has been an inadequate communication solution in healthcare settings, and different approaches to meeting this need should be explored and utilized;
- Clear/transparent masks should be made widely available to any and all professionals that may engage with deaf people, along with training about their importance and their use;
- Generally, deaf individuals feel that the level of access to government programs and services offered by the State of Connecticut is unsatisfactory;
- The deaf community has expressed a significant need for a government-level office or department that specializes in deaf services; and,
- Similarly, there is a significant need for employers in the state to participate in training on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), sensitivity/awareness training as it pertains to deaf employees, and to improve overall communication access in the workplace.
The remainder of Innivee Strategies’ findings and recommendations, can be found in the written report. ASD and its partner organizations will use this report to guide their strategic priorities and plans for the next few years. It is our hope that the State of Connecticut, healthcare providers, employers, and other groups who engage with the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing community will take the opportunity to review the report and carefully consider how to improve the quality of life for all Connecticut residents.
On behalf of Innivee Strategies, ASD, as well as the Connecticut Association for the Deaf, Communication Advocacy Network, and Hear Here Hartford, who also played an important role in this project, we wish to extend our appreciation to everyone who participated in our data collection efforts.
To read the full report, visit:
About the American School for the Deaf
At the American School for the Deaf, students, and families are surrounded by inspiring peers, guided by dedicated and committed staff, and supported by robust technology. ASD fosters a language-rich communication environment that maximizes each student’s potential, empowering them to become educated and self-directed lifelong learners.
About Innivee Strategies, Inc.
Innivee Strategies, Inc. is an organizational and leadership development company. We believe that communities are only as strong as the organizations that serve them. We consult with organizations and leaders to create and achieve goals, manage change, obtain and utilize data, cultivate community buy-in, and nurture and retain inspiring and transformative leaders.