The following documents are being made available in keeping with the Mission of MCDHH to provide accessible communication, education and advocacy to consumers and private and public entities. Our ultimate goal is to see that programs, services and opportunities throughout the Commonwealth are fully accessible to persons who are Deaf, late-deafened and hard of hearing.

The Access Work Group, a subcommittee of the MCDHH Statewide Advisory Council ( SAC), has been meeting for the last 2 years to cull the conventional wisdom on the best ways to ensure communication access for hard of hearing consumers when attending public and private events. The end result is these two documents:

The Best Practices Paper for the Consumer offers a method, or guidelines, for actively engaging an organization in providing appropriate accommodations for communication access. The consumer who follows these suggestions will be empowered to self- advocate before, during and after an event. The paper provides the consumer with a method of engaging those responsible for providing accommodations in an effective means of making communication access a reality.

The Best Practices for the Vendors paper will serve as a map or diagram for providers. These steps will help providers in making appropriate accommodations available when called upon to do so. The paper serves as an educational tool starting with an explanation of the right questions to ask a consumer and carrying through the process to the final steps of seeking feedback from consumers in order to continually improve the accessibility of the event/s and the accommodations provided.

These papers are the result of extensive team work and input from many sources. Several individuals were involved during the two year time frame. I wish to thank everyone and express my appreciation for the valuable contribution each person made to the effort. Special recognition must be given to SAC members Ginny Mazur, Lisa Chiango, and Laura Meier, and to Debra Lobsitz from MCDHH's Communication Access Training & Technology Services for their ongoing commitment to making these documents a reality and for attending the many meetings and tirelessly working the information into a concise and usable format.

This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.