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CSCDHH GA Newsletter - June 1997 Issue

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NOTE: This is an abbreviated version of the CSCDHH GA Newsletter. Articles not included have the article title in Italics. To get the full text of the newsletter, become a member of CSCDHH. Thank you!!

Community Service Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
1609 19th Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98122-2848
(206) 322-4996 V/TTY
(206) 720-3251 FAX

Interpreter Referral Service (206) 322-5551 V/TTY

CSCDHH Hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri - 8:30am - 5:00pm; Wednesday - 11:00am - 7:30pm

June 1997
1997 - Issue #6


9-1-1 and the TTY User by Janel Stromme

This is the first article in a series that will appear on a quarterly basis in the GA Newsletter. Watch for upcoming articles addressing 9-1-1 issues.

What is 9-1-1?

9-1-1 is the number you dial for police, fire or medical emergencies such as heart attacks or breathing problems. In accordance with State law and Federal ADA (Americans with Disability Act) requirements, all 9-1-1 operators must have equipment that allows them to respond to incoming TTY calls. 9-1-1 operators must also be trained to recognize silent calls or calls with beeping sounds. The TTY user is not required to press their space bar when calling 9-1-1, however it does help the 9-1-1 operator to hear the message "This is a hearing impaired caller. Please use a TTY," after you tap the space bar (for TTYs equipped with this feature).

What Happens After You Call 9-1-1?

If a TTY user is a Seattle resident and makes a call to 9-1-1, the call is sent to the phone company computer, then to the 9-1-1 call distributor computer. The computer then gives the call to the 9-1-1 operator responsible for service in the area the call is being made from. Each operator has a special type of phone, a "positron" device, and a computer terminal that is hooked up to a network of terminals used by police dispatchers and police officers in patrol cars. Communication is mostly by computers.

The positron device reads the number the TTY user is calling from and sends a request to the phone company computer for the address and name of the person on the phone bill. This information is then displayed on the computer screen for the 9-1-1 operator. This device is also used to transfer calls to other areas, such as the fire department, medical personnel, phone company or King County Mounties (police officers on horses). Once the 9-1-1 operator gets this information, they use the special phone to transfer phone calls to the TTY machine. This phone also transfers non-emergency calls to the non-emergency 7-digit number.

The Seattle system described above is called the E9-1-1 (enhanced 9-1-1). The basic 9-1-1 service has no positron device or equipment to get names and address on the phone bill. They may have call-tracking devices, but it takes more time to obtain the information needed.

Not every 9-1-1 center in Washington State is hooked to E9-1-1. There are currently 22 counties that have the E9-1-1 system in place, 15 counties that have basic 9-1-1 services and 2 counties that have no 9-1-1 services, but do have 7-digit emergency numbers.

If you have any questions about 9-1-1 issues, contact Janel Stromme, 9-1-1/TTY Program Trainer at (206) 322-4996 (TTY), (206) 720-3251 (FAX), or send e-mail to

Letter from the Director by Rob Roth

Please join me in welcoming new staff member Judy Kaddoura who recently became an Interpreter Referral Service Specialist. She is the friendly typist/voice that you may have conversed with recently. Judy moved here from Spokane, and has two children, a daughter, 22, and a son, 19.

Congratulations to Nancylynn Bridges, Assistant Director, who has accepted a position with Travis County Services for the Deaf in Austin, Texas. Nancylynn will leave Seattle in the middle of July; we will miss her.

Judie Husted will now be working half-time as the Interpreter Referral Service Coordinator, until a new coordinator is found. Judie eventually plans to return to full-time freelance interpreting. Judie leaves a legacy of commitment and love for CSCDHH that everyone here appreciates.

We now have positions open at CSCDHH. They are Interpreter Referral Service Specialist (full- and part-time), Interpreter Referral Service Coordinator (full or part time), and Executive Assistant (half-time). Please call Rebekka Berger at 206/322-4996 V/TTY for job descriptions.

Recently, CSCDHH was asked to coordinate two separate focus groups of deaf, deaf-blind and hard of hearing people. One, for Very Special Arts Washington, was to find out the state of arts access for our community; the other, for United Way, sought to gather feedback on United Way's funding priorities. While the what Arts Access is doing is a very valuable to share, it is an article into itself that I will share with you another time. For now, I would like to tell you more about the United Way focus group.

Eight people participated, including one hearing parent of a deaf child, three hard of hearing persons, and four deaf persons (deaf-blind persons will have a separate focus group with United Way). Some were from South King County, some in Seattle, and others from North King County and Eastside. One person was of Asian descent, and another was African American. Some were late-deafened, others were born deaf, or were deafened early in life. It was a pretty diverse group, representative of deaf and hard of hearing persons countywide. This focus group is one of many conducted by United Way in various geographic (i.e. South King County) and demographic (i.e. African-Americans) communities.

The following were the issues discussed:

"What are the critical human service needs facing the community? What are you personally concerned about?"

"What barriers exist that make accessing services or programs difficult for people in your community?"

All of us came away from the focus group feeling better for having expressed our opinions. It certainly gave me some ideas about the direction that CSCDHH could go should we be able to obtain more funding. Participation in forums like this assist United Way and other funding sources to understand the needs of the deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind persons, both individually and as a community.

I welcome letters from readers of the GA. Tell me how you feel about the responses from the focus group. Do you agree or disagree? Are there other issues not covered? Write to me at CSCDHH; is where I can be reached via e-mail. I will forward your comments to United Way.

P.S. My sincere thanks to those that participated in both focus groups. Their time and feedback was very much appreciated!

Supratitles in the Theater

Next time you're wondering what to do on a Friday or Saturday night, why not try the Seattle Opera? For more than 10 years now, the Seattle Opera has been using what is called Supratitles, which work something like closed-captioned TV. As the singer sings a song, the words are projected on a screen above the stage. These supratitles not only benefit Deaf and hard-of-hearing people, but also the average hearing person, especially when listening to Italian or French arias rather than English.

Supratitles are projected from a booth behind the audience. Before the opera, someone types all the words into Microsoft Project onto a laptop computer. The computer is then plugged into a projector called Barcodata 3000LC, the brightest projector in Seattle. As the singers sing, someone operates the laptop deciding when to project which supratitles. The result? Closed-captioned opera!

Unfortunately, since the Seattle Opera decides what to caption, not everything is actually captioned. For example, they do not caption sound effects, unimportant lines, or words repeated over and over again. So, captions may stop while the singers still sing and won't be until a couple minutes later before the captions start up again. Also, operas sung in English tend to have fewer captions than Italian or French. They assume you can understand the words.

Nevertheless, the Seattle Opera could be a very entertaining and worthwhile alternative to regular theaters. Now, if only they did the same thing in movie theaters. . . .

Community Announcements

CSCDHH has three job openings

Contact Rebekka at (206) 322-4996 (V/TTY) for more information.

AA Meetings for the Deaf have meetings every week all over Seattle, Eastside and Tacoma. For more information, call Jackie H. at (206) 744-1020 (V) or (206) 344-7985 (TTY), Ken P. (206) 486-9342 (TTY), Billy H. (206) 787-8632 (TTY) e-mail, Laurel W. (206) 784-9335 (V/TTY) e-mail For Al-anon or co-dependency meetings, contact Heidi (206) 362-3771 (TTY).

King County Board for Developmental Disabilities has four job openings. The board provides services for individuals with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism or other impairments. For more information, call (206) 296-5214 (V) or (206) 296-5238 (TTY). Forms may be picked up at 700 Fifth Avenue, Suite 3800, Seattle WA 98104.

Puyallup School District is seeking Educational Interpreters for the 1997-98 school year. Assignments are in the district's Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Program with students preschool through high school age. Also substitute interpreters needed immediately. We offer quality teaming, recent technologies and modern facilities. For additional information, contact Diane Weir, Assistant Director of Special Education, at (206) 845-7235 (V) or (206) 841-8655 (FAX).

Seattle Gymnastics Academy is offering gymnastics classes and camp in sign language. Ages 4 - 12. Please call Michelle at (206) 362-7447 (V) ASAP for more information.

What's Happening


The May issue of GA Newsletter was edited by Laurette Lajoie and Branden Huxtable.

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