CSD Wins 2021 FCC Award for Advancements in Accessibility

CSD’s COVID-19 Hotline, Powered by ASL Now was Recognized Alongside Apple-iOS 14 and Accessible Pharmacy Services for the Blind. 

It’s no secret, the global COVID-19 pandemic is still affecting people’s everyday lives. At Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), we have been working to make sure our community has access to the latest and most accurate information possible. That’s why we are incredibly honored to be recognized for this work by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), receiving the 2021 FCC Chair’s Award for Advancement in Accessibility (FCC’s Chair’s AAA).  The FCC recognized that with the onset of the pandemic, CSD applied its innovative model of direct video calling, called ASL Now.to support vital services within the healthcare sector.

Communication is Always Evolving, and Even More So During the Pandemic 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on how we communicate,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. “Remote access has become critically important to many aspects of our lives, and we need to ensure that the tools we are using to stay connected are accessible for people with disabilities.”

The FCC recognized CSD for its outstanding innovative practices and technologies that creatively leveraged communications and broadband technology during the pandemic to break down accessibility barriers so everyone can participate equally in our connected world.

We’re Creating Solutions So American Sign Language Users Have Access to Information – and We’re Not Done Yet. 

“Communication Services for the Deaf’s Connect Direct subsidiary established an ASL-based COVID-19 hotline to make information directly available to deaf people in their native language,” wrote the FCC in a statement. “The hotline supports CSD’s effort to provide accessible information about the ongoing pandemic to the deaf community via ASL videos and a comprehensive website.”

Work like this shows that instead of outdated stopgap “solutions” for language barriers, CSD is focused on taking down the barriers altogether. Fundamentally, advancing accessibility is really about equity and building a more equitable world. For 47 years, CSD has worked to eliminate barriers and confront misperceptions and biases about the incredible capability and talent that resides within the disability community. We have partnered with countless advocates, organizations, and government supporters accomplished a great many things since our inception and the world is much more open to
deaf and disabled Americans than ever before.

However, we are only at the midpoint of our journey and there is still much work that remains to be done. Equity in telecommunications demands that we continue to seek out ways to achieve a communications experience for deaf and disabled Americans that feels as complete as the communications experience enjoyed by the general public.

“Equity in telecommunications demands that we continue to seek out ways to achieve a communications experience for deaf and disabled Americans that feels as complete as the communications experience enjoyed by the general public,’ explained CSD CEO Chris Soukup. “CSD has spent the last ten years working to develop a new class of solutions that go beyond relay, that reduce reliance on facilitators, and provide deaf people with greater autonomy in the way that they interact with corporations and government.”

Support Deaf and Disabled Communities by Learning About What We Do 

The FCC’s Chair’s AAA awards began in 2011 and recognize individuals, products, services, standards, and other innovative developments that improve the experience of people with disabilities in telecommunications and technology.

As part of CSD’s essential work to build a more equitable world, we invite you to explore ASL Now’s website to learn more about our efforts to support the Deaf and disabled community through accessible telecommunications.

Our COVID-19 Hotline is still up and running, so if you have any questions about things like COVID-19, new variants, or health resources, please contact us at VP (833) 682-7630 or visit our COVID-19 resource page.

For more information about Connect Direct and our COVID-19 ASL Hotline, please visit ASL Now’s website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Editor’s Note
We want to inform our readers that references to “Connect Direct” in this blog post have been updated to reflect our new brand name, “ASL Now.” While the content and information may have been adjusted and remain relevant, we have made this change for clarity and alignment with our evolving brand identity. Thank you for your understanding, and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need further assistance. (October 19, 2023)
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