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E-Michigan Deaf and Hard of Hearing People.

News 2009

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MSU Deaf Ed Program Closing

It is with great sadness and disappointment that I have to tell you of the decision to close the Deaf Education teacher preparation program here at Michigan State University (pending university approval). Our dean has informed us that they will put a moratorium on future (2010-2011) admissions and that current students will be required to finish their coursework and internship before the end of spring semester 2012. We have also been informed that all ASL classes will be terminated as of the spring of 2011 (next academic year).

As you may know, Michigan State's Deaf Education program is the ONLY program in the state that prepares teachers for those deaf and hard of hearing students who use ASL, or any sign-based system, and the program from which many if not most of the teachers at the Michigan School for the Deaf and other programs around Michigan were prepared. Harold, Marta Belsky (our ASL Coordinator), and I have worked hard in fact over the past several years to redesign our preparation and ASL programs, revising curricula and providing several tracks in which our students could focus their studies including a bilingual education track and a consulting/itinerant teacher track. We were also successful in getting an ASL Living/Learning Option (dorm floor) for students interested in maintaining their proficiency in, and/or learning, ASL and Deaf culture, and had great plans for the future. On a grant with Judy Coryell, we were also preparing teachers for deaf and hard of hearing students in the Pacific - areas such as Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, Palau, Micronesia, etc. Our research continues to be strong, however, as good instructors do, we created a close collaboration between research and instruction and we are disheartened that we won't be able to share our results with our students for much longer.

While Harold, Marta, and I will continue to provide a quality preparation for those students who remain in our program, we wanted to inform you, our colleagues, of these developments. If you would like any more information regarding this situation, please feel free to contact us.

In closing, we hope that your programs are not in danger of closing and that we will all continue to find ways to improve teaching and learning within the field of Deaf Education.

Claudia M. Pagliaro, Ph.D.
Associate Professor/Co-Director

Harold A. Johnson/Professor
Deaf Education Teacher Preparation

Marta Belsky, ASL Coordinator

Deaf Education Programs
Dept. of Counseling, Educational Psychology &
Special EducationMichigan State University

Below is an online petition to "Keep Deaf Education Program at Michigan State University"

Trustees Name 10th President of Gallaudet University

Dr. T. Alan Hurwitz has been appointed by the Board of Trustees as Gallaudet University’s tenth president. The announcement was made by Dr. Benjamin Soukup, chair of the Board of Trustees, on October 18 before an overflow crowd in the University’s Swindells Auditorium.

Hurwitz currently serves as president of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf [NTID], one of eight colleges within the Rochester Institute of Technology [RIT], and vice president and dean of RIT. He has worked at NTID/RIT since 1970, first as an instructor in RIT’s College of Engineering and, subsequently, as an NTID professor, department chair, dean, and the college’s president. Throughout his career he has been active in a variety of professional organizations, including serving as president of both the National Association of the Deaf and the World Organization of Jewish Deaf.

“In Dr. Alan Hurwitz the Board of Trustees has chosen a leader for Gallaudet who possesses an extensive and distinguished track record in the field of higher education for deaf and hard of hearing persons,” said Soukup. “This expertise, along with his commitment to Gallaudet’s unique mission and strategic plan, ensures that he is the right person to lead the University as it seeks to attract and educate students from a variety of educational and communication backgrounds.”

Hurwitz, who will take office in January, succeeds Dr. Robert Davila, the University’s president since 2007.

Sidekick Outage Trouble

Read about the recent problems with Sidekick that caused problems for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

Disability Web Site by U.S. Dept. of Labor

WASHINGTON — In conjunction with the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Department of Labor has launched Available at, the site offers comprehensive information about programs and services to better serve more than 50 million Americans with disabilities, their family members, veterans, employers, educators, caregivers and anyone interested in disability-related information.

To read the full press release, click here.

DODHH New Brochure - Deaf Persons' Interpreter Act

The DODHH has developed a new brochure outlining information regarding the Michigan Deaf Persons' Interpreter Act. The tri-fold brochure is below for your reference and for distribution for your state and community partners.

The DODHH will be printing a limited number of these brochures for the public and soon will be posting this brochure on our website for public access at

Download the brochure here.

ASL Video Podcast

A project of the National Network of ADA Centers

June 22, 2009 – The National Network of ADA Centers announces new episodes on the Disability Law Lowdown website at The first video podcast series in American Sign Language bring a new level of service to the Deaf community by expanding traditional audio-only podcasts to include video that allows subscribers too see native Deaf speakers signing the show’s content. The podcasts deliver the latest in disability law information via American Sign Language, captioning, voice-over, and transcripts to maximize accessibility. Free subscriptions to the ASL podcasts are available to have shows automatically delivered to MP3 players. The ASL podcasts are also available on the Disability Law Lowdown website, where transcripts of the shows are simultaneously available. For the fastest viewing, go to

Topics currently available include: Tax Incentives, Voting Rights, Ticket to Work, Housing, Your Rights with Law Enforcement, Workplace Accommodations, Your Legal Rights as a College Student, Legal Obligations of the Hospitality Industry, Requesting an Interpreter, and an Overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Disability Law Lowdown is provided by the Disability Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC), a national network of ten ADA Centers across the country, offering technical assistance and training in the Americans with Disabilities Act and other disability-related laws. To reach the center that serves your area call 1-800-949-4232 v/tty. To subscribe, look for the ASL Disability Law Lowdown podcast on iTunes, or visit

Agencies Merge in West Michigan

Two neighboring agencies, Deaf/Hard of Hearing Connection (D/HHC) based in Muskegon, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) centered in Grand Rapids, held several meetings with local advocates, sign language interpreters and other stakeholders from both geographic areas. All came to a mutual agreement that DHHS will incorporate D/HHC’s current services into its overall operations as of October 1, 2009 so that services for individuals along the lakeshore will continue uninterrupted. Implementation of a detailed transition plan is underway.

To read the complete press release click here.

Launch of OIC Movies Online in ASL

March 30, 2009 - Detroit, Michigan - OIC Movies announces the launch of an online channel for news, entertainment and information exclusively in American Sign Language (ASL).

The website is designed for use by the Deaf and hard of hearing communities, where ASL is their native language. The site features ASL content curated and organized by sign language professionals, pop- up video explanations in ASL on how to navigate the website, and Deaf on-camera talent.

In addition to curated content, original videos are produced by the OIC Movies team on Deaf culture and a variety of other topics not currently available anywhere else in America Sign Language.

OIC Movies reporter Mary Luczki has always wanted to deliver news and information in her first language, America Sign Language (ASL) but until now was limited by technology. "This has been a life-long dream of mine. Twenty years ago all we had to work with was VHS tape. I'm very excited about this business."

The vision of OIC Movies is to provide the best available resource for news, information and entertainment in American Sign Language. We do this by producing original programming in ASL and organizing available ASL content from the web.

OIC Movies is a full-service production company, specializing in American Sign Language video production. Services include translation of existing content into American Sign Language and the design and production of original American Sign Language content.


Sprint Announces Next Generation Of CAPTEL(r) Phones For Hard Of Hearing Users

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – April 1, 2009 – Sprint today announced the upcoming availability of the next generation CapTel® phone for it’s hard of hearing and deaf users. The CapTel 800i is the latest offering in Ultratec’s CapTel line, joining the CapTel Model 200® – a captioned telephone designed for use with traditional analog phone lines. The CapTel 800i works on any telephone line *, bringing with it the advantages of a telephone with text capabilities via the Internet and the ability to read the captions during telephone conversations. The CapTel 800i will be available for purchase in the near future. Those interested can to be placed on a list and be first in line to order the new phone when it becomes available.

The CapTel 800i phone requires a landline telephone (can be analog, VoIP, DSL, or digital cable telephone service) and an Internet connection (high-speed internet or broadband service). Designed specifically for use with high-speed Internet service, the CapTel 800i offers CapTel users the advantage of written text captions to help understand what their callers are saying.

One of the greatest benefits of the CapTel 800i phone is the automatic routing of inbound calls to the captioning service without having to dial a toll-free number to reach the CapTel Call Center first. Operators using voice-recognition technology transcribe everything the caller says into text, which is instantly transmitted to the CapTel 800i phone over the Internet. Captions appear on the phone’s LCD screen. This enables CapTel users the ability to utilize their hearing with written captions to read. This process is transparent and can be turned on or off at any time before or during the call.

* Not compatible with digital PBX office systems unless analog port used.

The following links may be accessed to learn more about Sprint’s captioning services:

Sue Thomas: F.B.EYE,’ Premiers Monday, April 6, 2009 on Animal Planet

“Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye”, inspired by the true story of the F.B.I’s first deaf surveillant and her hearing dog Levi—is coming to ANIMAL PLANET, beginning Monday, April 6, with a two-hour opener (8:00 – 10:00 p.m., ET/PT, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., Central and Mountain. Thereafter, it will be shown in its regular time slot, Mondays at 9:00 ET/PT and 8:00 p.m. Central and Mountain.

Deanne Bray stars as a young deaf woman who, along with her hearing dog, Levi, is starting her first job – with the F.B.I. -- where Sue’s unique lip reading ability lands her in the bureau’s elite surveillance team. Suddenly Sue and Levi are “G-men,” caught up in more action than they ever bargained for. But what they lack in experience, they make up for in spirit and enthusiasm.

“This is a call to action for ‘Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye,’ fans” says co-creator Gary Johnson. “It’s a chance to enjoy your favorite ‘Sue Thomas’ episodes. And if the show does well, Animal Planet is interested in making new episodes. So we’d encourage fans to let them know you’re out there by telling them how much you enjoy the show.” AP

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