What is DHCC advocacy?

DHCC’s mission is to promote communication accessibility, equality and cultural awareness to the Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing communities. Advocacy is an important part of achieving this mission. The staff at DHCC advocate in a variety of ways, working towards equal communication access for Deaf and hard of hearing individuals. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is the legislation referred to most to support the provision of communication access.

There are two types of advocacy – Personal Advocacy and Systemic Advocacy.

Personal Advocacy

Personal advocacy assists an individual to obtain services that are his/her legal right, such as sign language interpreters. DHCC staff provide personal advocacy on behalf of a Deaf or hard of hearing individual in situations involving communication inequality.
If any place of public accommodation (such as a doctor’s office, educational institution), employer or any entity that receives federal funding rejects your request for a sign language interpreter, a DHCC staff member can call the business to advocate for your needs. DHCC staff members will provide specific information regarding the service provider’s responsibilities according to the ADA or other relevant legislation. DHCC also provides written material and directs the service provider to appropriate internet resources for additional information when necessary.

Systemic Advocacy

Systemic advocacy changes systems, services, and legislation in the cause of justice and human rights. For Deaf and hard of hearing consumers, the goal is usually to improve access to services. Systemic advocacy activities include participation as a member of a coalition of many organizations working for a specific cause, working in partnership with Deaf and hard of hearing consumer groups, responding to new legislation, and other related activities.

Referrals to Legal Services

DHCC does not provide legal services; however, we can refer you to organizations that can provide you with legal advice or assist you in taking legal action. DHCC can also provide you with information on how to file a complaint under the ADA so you can advocate on your own.

Information and Referral Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Hearing Individuals

DHCC is dedicated to providing information to Deaf, hard of hearing and hearing individuals and their family and friends. This information assists individuals in obtaining needed services and technology, and in making informed decisions. DHCC can provide information and/or referrals on the following topics:

    • Specialized programs and services for Deaf and hard of hearing people, such as senior centers and case management services
    • Technical devices such as alerting systems, including loan equipment programs for consumers to try devices before purchasing as well as low-interest and no-interest financing for assistive technology (hearing aids, alert systems, tablets, etc)
    • American Sign Language materials
    • Hearing aid funding for low-income individuals
    • Telephone communications including video phones from various service providers, Captel (Captioned Telephone), and voice carry over
    • Major and current legislation, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how to advocate or file an ADA complaint
    • Interpreting agencies in areas outside of DHCC’s service area
    • The PA Interpreter Law and how to register with ODHH as a ASL/English interpreter

We are members of many local, state and national organizations and receive newsletters and email updates with valuable information about professional development opportunities, conferences, and events. We share some of this information with our members in our quarterly newsletter, The Communicator. If you are interested in becoming a DHCC member, click here for more information.
DHCC welcomes the opportunity to serve you and answer your questions. Please contact us at 610-604-0450 (Voice/TTY), (484) 477-0817 (VP), or email info@dhcc.org with any questions.