Press Release - County Recorder Helen Purcell Announces Another First
June 8 ,2006 Phoenix, AZ – In today’s technological world Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell will be revealing a first in the nation - Deaf Link, a tool which will be used to assist the Deaf and Hard of Hearing voters. A demonstration of the Deaf Link will take place on Tuesday, June 13, 2006 at 9:30am at the Elections Operations Center (MCTEC), 510 South Third Avenue, Phoenix.
Deaf Link provides those who use American Sign Language as their language of choice an easier access to public information and assistance. Galludet University periodically conducts studies of standardized testing (such as the Stanford Achievement Test) with students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. For 17 and 18-year-olds in the deaf and hard of hearing student sample, the median Reading Comprehension subtest score corresponds to about a 4.0 grade level for hearing students. That means half of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing students at that age scored above the typical hearing student at the beginning of fourth grade, and half scored below. In 2000 there were 233,499 Hard of Hearing or Deaf (an 18% increase from 1996) and it is expected in 2010 there will be 289,190 Deaf or Hard of Hearing ( an increase of 46% from 1996).
Deaf Link, Inc is a San Antonio based company providing ASL (American Sign Language) translation services via video conferencing. The Deaf or Hard of Hearing do not have to wait for translation services – a simple click on the Deaf Link icon connects the service, and a translator appears on the screen to instantly provide interpretation.
Helen Purcell hopes to provide the service to other agencies throughout the county. “Although we are providing voter assistance, we feel other Maricopa County agencies can take advantage of a much needed customer service.”