Oct 272014


On October 15, 2014, Governor McAuliffe announced changes in the State budget for Fiscal Year 2015 (July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015).  The original budget, approved by the General Assembly and the Governor earlier in 2014, was based on estimates of how much money the state expected to collect (revenue projections) from taxes, fees, etc.  Cuts to the budget are necessary because such revenue collections have been down in the Commonwealth.  When he announced the cuts, the Governor said, “Making these budget reductions has been the most difficult experience of my term so far. In a government as lean and well-run as ours, there are few spending cuts you can make without impacting the lives of Virginians.”


When budget cuts have been made in the past, the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (VDDHH) has been able to maintain a stable level of direct services.  Unfortunately, the cuts announced last week include a reduction in funding for the Interpreter Services Program (ISP) for Fiscal Year 2015.  Specifically, VDDHH will have to reduce the interpreter services provided for 12-step meetings and funerals through June 30, 2015.  We do not know if we will be able to restore these services for Fiscal Year 2016, which starts on July 1, 2015; it will depend upon the budget approved by the 2015 General Assembly.


About Sign Language Interpreters for 12-Step Meetings (Alcoholics Anonymous/AA; Narcotics Anonymous/NA)

Effective November 1, 2014, VDDHH will not be able to pay for sign language interpreters for 12-Step (AA/NA) meetings.  We are working with Alcoholics Anonymous of Virginia Special Needs Committees to find out how local chapters can support the cost of interpreters for these meetings.

There are some other resources that can support Deaf people with substance abuse issues:

  • If you are a client of a Community Services Board (CSB), you should ask about communication access (and related funding) for your meetings.
  • There are online 12-step meetings available for Deaf people.
  • Deaf Off Drugs and Alcohol (DODA) has a website that includes information and access to online meetings, and a link to DODA’s schedule of meetings. Here is the link: http://www.med.wright.edu/citar/sardi/doda.


About Sign Language Interpreters for Funerals and Memorial Services

Effective November 1, 2014, VDDHH will not be able to pay for sign language interpreters for visitations, funerals or memorial services.  Families should ask the funeral home to provide an interpreter.   The funeral home can contact VDDHH at 804-662-9502 for help in locating an interpreter but VDDHH will not be able to pay for the interpreter.  VDDHH will be working to provide more information to funeral home directors about the need for interpreters. If you have a complaint about a funeral home because it does not provide effective communication, you may be able to file an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complaint.  For more information, you may contact:


If you have any questions about these changes, please contact VDDHH at 804-662-9502.

Sep 292014

ABC Channel 7 Chicago

Saturday, July 26, 2014
Article Source

WATCH Captioned + Signed Video


Technology continues to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, as earlier this year, Resound developed a hearing aid in collaboration with Apple’s products.

Users of compatible hearing aids can talk on the phone, make Facetime calls and listen to music in high quality stereo.

When Steve DeLuca was 28-years-old, he developed a brain tumor.

“It knocked out the hearing in my left ear, and then over the years, my right ear has gotten bad, and then I lost the hearing in my right ear also without the tumor,” DeLuca said.

DeLuca is a firefighter for Northbrook Fire Department and has been there 22 years.

“I drive the engine,” he said.

Hearing aids help him, but he learned from his audiologist about the made-for-iPhone hearing aid.

Laurel Christensen is head of audiology for GN Resound group, a Danish hearing aid manufacturer who partnered with Apple on this product.

“It’s a hearing aid, professionally fitted just like any other hearing aid,” Christensen said. “It’s a premium high-end hearing aid with high-end sound processing. In addition to that, it will connect to an iPhone so everything that’s audible from the iPhone will stream directly to the hearing aid.

“So that can be obviously a telephone call, it can be music, it van be videos, anything that is audible from the phone will go directly into the hearing aid,” she said.

It is compatible with the iPhone 5 iPad Air and the iTouch.

“It’s priced like a premium hearing aid, so they can be $2,500 to $3,500 depending on where you go,” Christensen said.

“The Apple hearing aid is by far much better than the other hearing aid is, the technology that Apple uses and being able to sync with the phone just opens us to so many things that I’m able to do,” DeLuca said.

“There is a wow effect with the hearing aid alone, and when you connect it to the iPhone, people are able to hear things from an iPhone that they were never able to hear clearly before,” Christensen said. “We are getting a lot of positive feedback and it helps hearing-impaired people in more environments than they were able to hear before.”

For cochlear implants, there is no made-for-i-Phone product. But Christensen believes in the future and that they will have something like this.

For more information, visit Apple’s website.


– Thanks to NVRC, Fairfax

Sep 102014

Karen Elaine Newcomb
Born August 17, 1959, Karen was a recent resident of Edinburgh Square. She passed away on September 8, 2014, following a long, courageous battle with breast cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

Karen attended various local schools, VSDB in Staunton, and graduated from William Fleming High School in 1978. Karen loved animals, especially her dog, “Poncho.”

Karen was predeceased by her infant sister, Kimberly Dawn, Grandfather, Burnell Britt and Grandparents, William and Beulah Newcomb. Karen is survived by her parents, Doris and Guy Caldwell of Botetourt County and Thomas and Barbara Newcomb of Salem; her brother and sister-in-law, Kevin and Faith Newcomb, Grandmother, Tillie Quesenberry of Roanoke. She is also survived by step-siblings Stephanie Carter, Tina, Darryl, and Tamara Caldwell of Allegheny County.
Karen will be greatly missed by aunts and uncles, Richard and Billie Britt of Daleville, Susie and Dan Shelton, Peggy Roten and Rebecca Petty of Roanoke, Rosalie Goad of Fincastle, Roy Lee Hensley and Sue and Bill Hayslett of Buchanan, as well as numerous cousins.
Her special friends, Joyce and Donnie Crain, Mamie Vanlew, Julie Switzer, Jane Hurt, Vickie Mather and Frances Aldridge are very much appreciated for their caring and support.

A special thanks to Good Samaritan Hospice and Doctors David Buck, Al Hagy and Joseph Ferrara. Also, Dr. Mark Kockenderfer, Jolee Preston and Angie Routt at the Cancer Center for their care, patience, and kindness during Karen’s illness.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Shiloh Cemetery Fund, c/o Sharon Britt, 1281 Salt Petre Cave Road, Eagle Rock, VA 24085, in Karen’s name.

Funeral service will be held 2:00 PM Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at Oakey’s North Chapel, Cleatis “Junior’ Newcomb will officiate, with burial to follow at Shiloh Cemetery, Eagle Rock, VA, 24085. Casual dress please. The family will receive friends on Wednesday 1:00 PM until service time at Oakey’s North Chapel, www.oakeys.com.