What are DHILS programs?
MCDHH contracts with agencies to provide DHILS programs (Independent Living Programs for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people) at eight sites throughout the state. The purpose of the programs is to provide a peer consumer environment to enable deaf and hard of hearing persons to become more independent and achieve their life goals. These programs employ persons who are themselves Deaf, late-deafened, or hard of hearing. Participants work with Independent Living Specialists to set and achieve their own personal goals for independent functioning in family, school, employment, and community situations.
What specific services do they offer?
The DHILS services include:
- peer mentoring for deaf persons; DHILS staff are ASL-fluent;
- peer mentoring for hard of hearing persons;
- self-advocacy training;
- training on a wide range of independent living skills topics such as the use of assistive technology, communication skills, how to manage money for daily needs, how to find support groups, how to find housing, etc.;
- topical workshops for consumer education;
- access to DHILS-based alternative support and recreational groups and activities;
- Application Program of assistive communication equipment;
- information and referral;
Who can participate in DHILS programs?
Any Deaf, late-deafened, or hard of hearing person, primarily age 18 through elder years, are eligible for DHILS services.
How are DHILS programs funded? Is there a charge for services?
The eight independent living programs for deaf and hard of hearing people in Massachusetts are funded through state contracts administered by MCDHH. There is no charge for participation.