Deaf services


Deaf Services manages the operation of the Agency's Regional Day School Program for the Deaf, performs all activities required to maintain a statewide program for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, and provides leadership to local regional day schools for the deaf in the planning, implementation and operation of comprehensive education programs for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Deaf Services Bureau (DSB) is part of the Occupational Therapy and Sensory Disabilities Unit within the Social Services Directorate. There is a DSB team based in each of the three areas in Kent (West, Mid and East) with operational headquarters based at Brenchley House, Maid stone. Medway Unitary Authority has contracted with KCC to provide a fourth DSB team based in Chatham. The Bureau provides a range of services to deaf and partially hearing people of all ages, through staff skilled communicating with d/Deaf people and a broad knowledge and depth of understanding of Deaf culture and the Deaf community. DSB can provide support for children and their families following a diagnosis of deafness.

Services provided

The Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ODHH) provides services to the deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind communities throughout Washington State. Currently in the state of Washington, there are approximately 650,000 individuals with a hearing loss. From that number, 14,000 individuals are profoundly deaf. Approximately 65% of deaf citizens have incomes at or below the federal poverty level and of that group; over 60% receive services from DSHS.
ODHH contracts with six community service centers, located in Seattle, Tacoma, Vancouver, Pasco, Spokane, and Bellingham, to provide communications access advocacy, sign language interpreter information, workshops, information and referral, counseling, outreach and independent living support services to clients and their families.

How these services are provided

A comprehensive information and referral system for deaf and hard of hearing people around the state through our office and in partnership with regional service centers for the deaf and hard of hearing is maintained. Through this system and our close work with all DSHS divisions and agencies, we facilitate contact between DSHS programs and the deaf and hard of hearing communities. Additionally, ODHH contracts for Telecommunications Relay Services which provides telecommunications access through trained relay call agents to persons with specialized communications equipment distributed by ODHH or purchased by persons with hearing loss from retailers. The Telecommunications Access Service (TAS) distributes equipment such as TTYs (Teletypewriters), TTYs with Braille, amplified phones, hands-free dialing equipment, PC-based video cameras and signaling devices to deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing and speech impaired persons.

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