Archive for March, 2011

From the Editor

Tony TrottThe cold weather is hopefully finished by now and warmer weather is coming our way!

I do like the winter, but having temperatures constantly below freezing can get kind of annoying after a while.

These are tough economic times everywhere, and Virginia is no different. At this writing we still are not sure of the results of our advocacy at the General Assembly in February, but the lead article tells you where we stand prior to April 6th.

ECNV celebrates its 29th Anniversary on April 1st! Although there are no big celebratory galas this year (see the first sentence of the previous paragraph!), we look forward to sharing our past and our future with you!

>> Read our history

By Tony Trott, ECNV Peer Mentor & Editor
Article from the ECNV Declaration (Spring 2011 Edition)


March 31, 2011 at 1:25 pm Leave a comment

Our Anniversary!

Happy 29th Birthday, ECNV!ECNV is celebrating its 29th Anniversary on April 1st, 2011! That’s not a joke; ECNV was really founded on April Fools’ Day. Maybe though, the choice of the opening date humorously speaks to the perseverance of the hardworking, core group whose vision made ECNV a reality despite the abundance of naysayers.

From the start, ECNV has been at various locations in Arlington serving, not only people in Northern Virginia, but other areas of Virginia as well.

In 1997, ECNV established a satellite Center for Independent Living (CIL) in Manassas that is now a stand-alone CIL known as the Independence Empowerment Center (IEC) and then in 2006, ECNV established a satellite CIL in Loudoun County: Loudoun ENDependence (LEND) which is currently working it’s way up to being a stand-alone CIL. 

Article from the ECNV Declaration (Spring 2011 Edition)

March 31, 2011 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Justice Department Settles Americans with Disabilities Act Lawsuit with Virginia’s INOVA Health System

Department of Justice logoDepartment of Justice


Civil Rights Division
(202) 514-2007
TDD (202) 514-1888

Justice Department Settles Americans with Disabilities Act Lawsuit with
Virginia’s INOVA Health System

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department has reached a settlement with Inova Health System to ensure effective communication with individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing in the provision of medical services.  The agreement, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, resolves a complaint that Inova failed to provide sign language interpreters to an expectant mother and others who are deaf and need interpreters to communicate effectively with health care providers. 

The department’s lawsuit, filed yesterday with a consent decree in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, alleged that Inova Health System violated the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act by failing to provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including sign language interpreter services, to deaf individuals at Inova Fairfax Hospital.  Because of the hospital’s failure to provide sign language interpreter services, deaf individuals were denied the benefit of effective communication with hospital staff, the opportunity to effectively participate in medical treatment decisions, and the full benefit of health care services provided by Inova Fairfax Hospital, according to the complaint. 

“The ADA protects the right of individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to be able to access medical services, and this settlement is the latest example of the Justice Department’s unwavering commitment to enforcing the ADA,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division.  “This settlement also demonstrates Inova Health System’s commitment to provide effective communication to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.”  

“This settlement shows that Inova and the government share the same goal – making sure that deaf and hard of hearing patients can communicate with their doctors, especially at critical moments in their medical care,” said Neil H. MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The consent decree, which must be approved by the district court, requires Inova Health System to pay $95,000 to aggrieved individuals and a $25,000 civil penalty; provide training to hospital staff on the requirements of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act; and adopt specific policies and procedures to ensure that auxiliary aids and services are promptly provided to patients or companions who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Inova Health System has also separately agreed to pay a total of $25,000 to two other aggrieved individuals.

The ADA and Rehabilitation Act prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities by hospitals.  Among other things, the ADA requires doctors, hospitals and other health care providers to provide equal access to patients and companions who are deaf or hard of hearing.  When medical services involve important, lengthy or complex oral communications with patients or companions, hospitals are generally required to provide qualified sign language interpreters and other auxiliary aids, free of charge, to individuals who are deaf, are hard of hearing or have speech disabilities.  The appropriate auxiliary aid to be provided depends on a variety of factors, including the nature, length and importance of the communication; the communication skills and knowledge of the individual who is deaf or hard of hearing; and the individual’s stated need for a particular type of auxiliary aid.

Those interested in finding out more about this settlement or hospitals’ effective communication obligations under the ADA may call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website at <> .  ADA complaints may be filed by email to <> .

March 30, 2011 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

Hearing Dog

Canine Listener (the newsletter of Dogs for the Deaf, Inc.) writes that “hearing dogs are trained to alert deaf people to household sounds that are necessary for everyday safety and independence. They are trained to make physical contact and lead their person to the source of the sound. By providing sound awareness and companionship, these dogs enhance parenting skills, increase employability, and provide greatly increased freedom and independence.” 

Many deaf and hard of hearing individuals have hearing dogs for many different reasons. I never had a hearing dog, but I always like to have my dog by me because I feel secure when she is with me. I always tell people that she is my ears. I train my dog to get my attention when she hears household sounds. When my son was a baby, I often failed to notice the baby monitor signal. My dog would alert me and then runs back to my son’s room until I got there. 

There are many other things that hearing dogs can do for deaf and hard of hearing people; even save their lives. 

For example, one Saturday afternoon, my dad was napping while the family was out shopping. The dog began pushing and scratching the bed to wake him and my dad finally did wake up and smelled the smoke. Dad then quickly grabbed the dog and ran outside. They got out just in time! My dad was always very loyal to the dog after that, because she saved his life. 

It is just a blessing to have a dog around. I, personally, do not like walking alone in the dark and always take the dog with me just to give me her ears. 

You can read more about Hearing Dogs at 

By Doreen Solar, ECNV Deaf & HoH Peer Mentor

March 25, 2011 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Japan Relief

Konoka's Family in JapanECNV would like to ask you to make a donation to the Relief Headquarters for Persons with Disabilities of Tohoku-Kanto Great Earthquake.

We at ECNV feel we have a close connection with Japan having Konoka Izumi on our staff.

Her family lives in Tokyo and was not directly affected by the earthquake/tsunami disaster, but they are being affected, as well as the rest of the country, with secondary hardships.

Visit AAPD/JFA’s Blog for special reports and full coverage on PwDs in Japan.

Watch Video Message from Japan to US Disability Community.

March 23, 2011 at 6:46 pm Leave a comment

Public Forum Dates for Dept. of Rehabilitative Services Supported Employment Programs

The Department of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) and the Virginia State Rehabilitation Council invite your attendance at a Public Forum to receive comment on the DRS Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment Programs.

Each year, DRS (and all other states) prepare a State Plan that describes how Virginia provides rehabilitation services. The State Plan is updated annually and must be submitted to the federal government by July 1 of each year. You may review the current State Plan by visiting the DRS website at or the State Rehabilitation Council website at

The following Public Forums will be held:

Wed., March 30 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Prince William County Workforce Center – Workshop Room C
13370 Minnieville Rd, Woodbridge, VA 22192

Tuesday, April 12 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Workforce Center – Department of Rehabilitative Services
211 Nor-Dan Drive, Suite 1055, Danville, VA 24540

Tuesday, April 19 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Resource Workforce Center Conference Room (Chesterfield Airport Business Park)
7333 Whitepine Road, Richmond, VA 23237

If you cannot attend the forum in person, you may send your written comments to:

Elizabeth E. Smith, Director of Policy and Planning
Department of Rehabilitative Services
8004 Franklin Farms Drive, Richmond, Virginia 23229
FAX (804) 662-7696

For comments to be considered for 2012 State Plan development, they must be received by May 1, 2011. However, public input to the Department’s planning efforts is welcome at any time.

Credit to VBPDnews

March 23, 2011 at 12:03 am 1 comment

White House Monthly Disability Call

In order to help keep you more informed, we are hosting monthly calls to update you on various disability issues as well as to introduce you to persons who work on disability issues in the federal government.

I would encourage you to call in about five minutes early due to the large volume of callers.

If you received this email as a forward but would like to be added to the White House Disability Group email distribution list, please email and provide your name, email address, city, state and organization if applicable.

This call is off the record and not for press purposes.

This call will feature remarks from U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan. The call also will include introductions to other administration personnel as well as updates on political appointments, employment, civil rights, health care, and transportation.

We strongly urge and ask that you distribute this email broadly to your networks and list serves so that everyone has an opportunity to learn of this valuable information.

Our next call will be Thursday, March 31 at 5:00 PM Eastern.

The conference call information is below.

Dial in for listeners: United States: (800) 230-1059

Title: White House Disability Call (use instead of code)

Date of Call: 03/31/2011

Start Time: 5:00 PM Eastern (dial in 5 minutes early)

For live captioning:

Again, please distribute widely.

Credit to White House Disability Group

March 23, 2011 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

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