AFA and NAD
In July 2009, AFA representatives met via VP with outgoing NAD CEO Nancy Bloch. The following information is a summary from the minutes of this meeting.
I. Related to AFA mission’s of human and linguistic rights:
A. INTERNATIONAL SIGN LANGUAGE DAY
We had ask the role that NAD would play in the upcoming International Sign Language Day (ISLD) in September (2009). At the time of our meeting in July, NAD had not yet made any plans for this celebration but was thinking of reviving their “ASL Awesome.” We are unaware of any activity on the part of NAD related to ISLD.
B. AFA’S COCHLEAR IMPLANTS SAFETY PETITION AND NAD’S COCHLEAR IMPLANTS INVESTIGATION:
NAD has called for investigation of CI’s in terms of risks and outcomes. This basically calls for public disclosure by manufacturers and makers of CIs. NAD was described as approaching the CI investigation as a ‘legal issue’ whereas they saw AFA’s activities as addressing it as a human rights issue.
Nancy Bloch stated she could not sign AFA’s CI petition either as a representative of NAD nor as an individual. She says as a figurehead of NAD she can never sign a petition. Whether figureheads of various agencies/civil rights groups can sign petitions was a source of contention during the meeting.
II. Related to AFA’s mission of unmasking audism and media misrepresentation
A. AUDISM IN THE DICTIONARY
Getting ‘audism’ in the dictionary was mentioned as one of NAD’s priorities, and it was noted that this should be accomplished within the year. AFA asked if there were any way that we could work with NAD to support this effort, but were told it needed to be taken care of by NAD alone.
B. NAD and AGBell ASSOCIATION
Nancy Bloch outlined NAD’s history of working with AG Bell: They meet every six weeks with the DHHA: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Alliance coalition of which AG Bell is a member. In dealing with AG Bell Association, NAD/Nancy considers the role of NAD as ‘watch dogs’ rather than complicit in working with AG Bell. She cites IDEA as a ‘success’ of this collaboration. There was some discussion as to the wisdom of sitting down at the table with an audist organization such as AG Bell.
Media misrepresentation is still an important area in which NAD wishes to be active.
III. OTHER NOTES
NAD has requested a new Commission on the Education of the Deaf study from Congress and asked for support.
Nancy Bloch corrected statements that “NAD recognizes and endorses AFA” as being “recognizes.” NAD “cannot” endorse AFA nor can they publically make any statements regarding ‘working with” AFA.