What are Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services?
The Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) works in partnership with people who are deaf or hard of hearing to eliminate societal and communication barriers to improve equal access for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. DHHS advocates for people of all ages who are deaf or hard of hearing to enable them to express their freedoms, participate in society to their individual potential, and reduce their isolation regardless of location, socioeconomic status, or degree of disability.
What Services are Provided?
Camp SIGN is a week-long summer program for children who are deaf or hard of hearing between the ages of 8 and 15. A counselor in training program is available to children who are deaf or hard of hearing between the ages of 16 and 17.
The camp program is dependent on donated funds. Donations are welcome throughout the year and are tax deductible.
Communication Services for One-Time Events
The Special Needs Funds (SNF) program is designed to provide communication services for one-time events to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Services include:
- interpreting, and
- Communication Access Real-time Translation (CART).
Funding through this program is not intended for demonstrating interpreting and CART services, or for use for state agency events. Applicants for the funds are the organizers who want to offer communication services at their events.
Funds are available on a limited first-come, first-served basis and must be used for funding the following approved events, which must be related to issues of concern for people who are deaf or hard of hearing:
- local workshops or conferences, and
- statewide workshops or conferences. National events held in-state are considered statewide conferences.
For the Special Needs Funds application, see Form 3925, Special Needs Funds Request for Communication Access.
Training and other educational activities are provided for people who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as for their families, service providers, schools and institutions, employers and government agencies. Training is offered periodically throughout the year. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for upcoming events.
Driver Visor Cards
Drivers who are deaf or hard of hearing can get an visor card to carry in their vehicle to identify themselves as being deaf or hard of hearing.
To apply, complete Form DARS3955, Application for Driver Identification Visor Card.
Find a Certified Interpreter
Hearing Aid Information
Financial assistance to purchase hearing aids may be available from a variety of sources for children who get Medicaid, older Texans and people who are looking for employment.
Information and Referral
Provides information and referral regarding deafness and/or hearing loss and services available to all persons who inquire, regardless of hearing loss. Referrals are made to the appropriate sources for additional services or information in the local communities or where appropriate.
The Board for Evaluation of Interpreters certification program tests and certifies the skill level of individuals who want to become certified interpreters in Texas. The program ensures that prospective interpreters are proficient in their ability to meaningfully and accurately comprehend, produce and transform ASL to and from English.
The Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) sponsors skills building and training opportunities for interpreters and coordinates training sponsored by other entities. DHHS also provides continuing education units for certification maintenance to participants in any approved training.
To participate in the Court Mentoring Program, complete the appropriate form:
- Form 3903, Court Interpreter Mentor Application
- Form 3904, Court Mentor Training Program
- Form 3905, Court Mentee Evaluation
The Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS) approves courses and workshops that provide continuing education to interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing.
Last Resort Communication Services
These services may be provided for people as a last resort to whom the Americans with Disabilities Act or other access mandates do not apply. Services, which include sign language, oral interpreters and real-time captioning, are designed to help facilitate access to essential services and community participation.
Resource specialists provide services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as other state agencies and service providers. Services are available statewide through contracts with local and regional service providers.
Program services, which are available at no cost, assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing to get the services they need from state and local government, service organizations, employers and private entities. They also:
- Advocate removing communication, cultural and attitudinal barriers to provide more access.
- Provide information and referral services.
- May provide training geared toward helping people better understand the laws that support and protect them.
Deafness Resource Specialist work with people who are deaf, hard of hearing and who are late-deafened in the areas of:
- Sensitivity training
- Federal and state mandates on equal access to services, including education and employment.
In many instances, these specialists work as liaisons between consumers and service providers regarding appropriate service provision.
Hearing Loss Resource Specialist help people increase their independence and self-sufficiency by focusing on:
- Sensitivity training
- Communication strategies
- Assistive technology for the workplace, home and beyond
Specialists help locate resources when working with people who are hard of hearing or who have an acquired loss of hearing.
Senior Citizens Program
This program is geared toward bridging communication barriers and reducing the isolation facing people age 60 and older who are deaf or hard of hearing. Services vary and may include coping skills training, independent living services and recreational activities.
The Specialized Telecommunications Assistance Program (STAP) helps people who have a disability that interferes with their access to telephone networks purchase specialized assistive equipment or services. To be eligible for a voucher, you must complete and return an application.
Students who meet certain criteria can apply to have their tuition waived at state-supported, post-secondary schools in Texas.