They had a right to effective communication. Our advocacy got them the help they needed. #AdvocacyMatters

February 23, 2018 / #AdvocacyMatters

A white woman presses buttons on a security system

Freda and her husband purchased a home security system. Because they are Deaf, the company's installation technician tried to explain how to work the system by passing notes back and forth, but this caused a lot of confusion, since American Sign Language (ASL) is their primary language, not English. As a result, they were making expensive monthly payments on a system they couldn't use, and they were concerned the police would accidentally be called. Unsure what to do next, they called Disability Rights Ohio for help.

The Americans with Disabilities Act requires private businesses to ensure effective communications with people who are Deaf. After customer service initially refused, a DRO attorney contacted the company's legal department directly and explained the couple's rights. The company agreed to send out another technician, but this time they would use a Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) service to communicate in ASL. In some situations, an in-person interpreter is the best choice, but in this case Freda and her husband felt VRI would be effective. Ultimately, the couple received the information they needed so they can feel safe in their home.

Find more information about the rights of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ohioans, including ASL videos of many of our most popular resources, in DRO's Self-Advocacy Resource Center.


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