DHHS Specialist Program
This DHHS program outreaches statewide to provide specialized services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as assisting agencies and other service providers to serve these consumers. The program, which operates through contracts with local/regional service providers, offers services in each of the 11 Health and Human Services regions of the state. The DHHS Specialists team with DRS Counselors and other DARS agency staff to ensure quality services are available to the targeted population. Regionally-based specialists assist consumers in getting the services they need from state and local government, service organizations, employers and private entities while advocating within the communities to remove communication barriers to render more access to the targeted groups. The program also addresses attitudinal and cultural barriers affecting the populations which may hinder successful service delivery; provides information and referral services; and may provide training geared toward the consumers acquiring a better understanding of the laws which support and protect them. Program services are available at no cost and include, but are not limited to training on: sensitivity, communication issues and technology awareness.
Deafness Resource Specialists (Deafness RS) have the knowledge-base and communication ability to work with persons who are deaf, hard of hearing and late-deafened in the areas of advocacy, self-empowerment and sensitivity training, as well as with Federal and State mandates on equal access to services, including education and employment. In many instances, Specialists work as liaisons between consumers and service providers on appropriate service provision.
Hearing Loss Resource Specialists (HLRS) typically focus their services on sensitivity training, communication strategies and assistive technology for the workplace, home and beyond for more independence and self-sufficiency. Specialists help locate resources when working with people who are hard of hearing or who have an acquired loss of hearing.