The number one question we get asked is “Where can I find…?”
When you’re new to the world of accessibility, searching the world wide web can be daunting, bringing up an alphabet soup of organizations. Don’t worry – we’ll walk you through a quick overview of 11 of the great accessibility organizations in the US to help you easier navigate this alphabet soup.
Let’s start with organizations focused on accessibility in general.
1. The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
AAPD says they are “a national cross-disability rights organization” that “advocates for full civil rights for…Americans with disabilities by promoting equal opportunity, economic power, independent living and political participation.” To enable these efforts, AAPD has various programs for people to get involved on individual, state and national levels.
2. Disability:IN (formerly US Business Leadership Network (USBLN))
Disability:IN is just as their tagline describes: “Your business partner for disability inclusion”. Disability:IN engages corporate partners in the workplace initiative, taking action to improve the value of their business by hiring people with disabilities. Disability:IN manages a national certification for businesses, hosts monthly webinars and an annual conference, takes part in a joint initiative with AAPD, services customized disability inclusion for companies and more. They recently had a name change, so if you’ve seen USBLN or US Business Leadership Network, it is now Disability:IN… IN for INclusion.
The next few organizations are national organizations serving the deaf and hard of hearing.
3. The National Association of State Agencies for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NASADHH)
NASADHH is comprised of state agency administrators serving individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing. These state agencies are a great resource for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families, those providing services to this demographic, those wishing to be more involved, organizations in need of education or resources, etc. Check on their website to see if your state has an agency & reach out to the state agency to learn more.
4. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD)
The NAD says it is “the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the US.” On the NAD website, you can find extensive and useful resources including civil rights laws in layman’s terms, government resources in ASL, directories including national deaf and hard of hearing organizations, vocational rehabilitation services and more, along with a host of other beneficial resources. To get involved with NAD on a local level, reach out to your respective state chapter.
5. The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA)
HLAA calls itself “the nation’s leading organization representing consumers with hearing loss.” Their mission is to provide information and education, support and advocacy for people with hearing loss. You can also get involved with HLAA on a local level – visit their website for more information about their state chapters.
6. The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell)
AG Bell’s mission is to ensure people who are deaf and hard of hearing can hear and speak. They do this through support, information, and resources on their website and local chapter events. AG Bell also provides information on other communication options, hearing technology, and family and professional resources.
7. The Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA)
ALDA supports people who experience deafness after they have acquired spoken language and yet can understand speech with or without hearing aids. They provide support via online content and ALDA conference events. ALDA is committed to providing a sense of belonging through exchange of experiences, sharing coping strategies and practical solutions to challenges, and working with organizations and service providers for the common good.
The following organizations primarily focus on the needs of deaf and hard of hearing children.
8. The Olive Osmond Hearing Fund (OOHF)
OOHF’s primary focus is on providing children access to quality hearing aids and inspiration that life isn’t limited to a hearing loss. Their goal is to intervene at an early age in order for the children to have a lifelong connection with their family and friends. They do this through providing resources, inspiring messages, experiences, examples and role models.
9. The American Society of Deaf Children (ASDC)
ASDC provides support, resources and educational opportunities for families, educators and service providers of deaf children. They offer these resources through online content, their ‘The Endeavor’ magazine, and the ASDC annual conference.
The last two organizations provide support to people who have a combination of hearing and vision loss (deaf-blind).
10. The Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youth and Adults (HKNC)
HKNC provides tools and resources for people who are deaf-blind to live, work and thrive in their communities. They offer on- and off-campus services with trainings on assistive technology, independent living, communication, orientation and mobility, vocational services, and more. They also offer professional learning courses for professionals working with deaf-blind individuals. Be sure to click on their main menu, via the hamburger button at the top of the page, to see the plethora of programs, services, support and education they offer.
11. The National Center on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)
NCDB works to improve the quality of life for children who are deaf-blind and their families through individual, state and national efforts. They are a national technical assistance center with growing initiatives and working groups prepared to identify the needs of children with sensory impairments through transition after post-secondary education and beyond. NCDB’s website library contains a host of information pertaining to deaf-blindness, resources for family and community and more. For families experiencing life with a deaf-blind child, or for the rest of us needing sensitivity training, NCDB’s ‘Families Matter’ section is worth visiting.
Each of these resources offer great ways to get involved, support equal access and encourage full immersion. We hope you’ll join the accessibility movement and learn, get involved, and spread the word!