The National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (NDC) and Gallaudet University’s Office of the Ombuds collaborated to present to members of the International Ombudsman Association (IOA). IOA is a member-led organization committed to assisting individuals and groups in navigating conflicts and concerns in the service of effective and healthy organizations. This partnership opportunity was a direct result of NDC’s positionality at the University of Texas at Austin and the close relationship with the University Ombuds Office at UT.
NDC believes that community connections and networks are a valuable tool for #DeafSuccess. It is important to build long-term working relationships and ongoing collaborations to create strategies to ensure a truly equitable experience for deaf people. As such, “Creating the Connections: Using Inclusive Practices for Deaf People and Visitors” was presented to IOA members on Thursday, September 8th, 2022. Ombuds work in many spaces, including postsecondary education and training settings, and provide services to a range of people, including students and employees. The webinar was a mutually beneficial opportunity to connect with and teach an audience aiming to strengthen their commitment to serving deaf people.
Attendees were guided through the impact of negative attitudes and biases that manifest as ableism and audism on deaf people. The presenters also discussed common barriers within existing systems that adversely impact the educational and employment outcomes for deaf people. The attendees also learned how accommodations are tools to mitigate the impact of existing barriers but do not necessarily provide equitable access or experiences for deaf people. Rather equity for deaf people requires change within people and systems. Attendees were provided with action items to implement sustainable accessibility practices that cultivate connections and a sense of dignity for deaf people.
For an equitable and inclusive experience for deaf people, it is essential for Ombuds or any professional to be mindful of the impact of attitudes and biases, work towards creating positive interactions, and make a commitment to accessibility.
- Tia Ivanko, Co-Director, National Deaf Center
- Lore Kinast, Director of Strategic Support, National Deaf Center
- Elizabeth Stone, University Ombuds, Director of Ombuds Programs, Gallaudet University
- Norma Morán, Associate Ombuds, Gallaudet University