AFA's letter sent Jan 17, 2014
Julie R. Schulte, MA, CCC-A
Interim EHDI Program Director
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Program
Center for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education
Indiana State Department of Health
Greetings Ms. Schulte:
It has come to our attention that Indiana is seeking an EHDI Program Director yet requires applicants hold a Masters in audiology. Based on the job responsibilities - there is no reason for that specialization to be the only acceptable degree for the post. Since only a handful of Deaf people have pursued degrees in audiology, your agency is in effect disqualifying Deaf applicants. Furthermore, the statement of "effective verbal and written communication skills are required for this position"
shows a discriminatory hiring practice favoring only speaking applicants over signing ones.
The International Congress on the Education of the Deaf 2010 Accord for the Future has several resolutions that call for the involvement of Deaf people in key decision-making positions about services for Deaf infants and children.
- Call upon all Nations to facilitate, enhance and embrace their Deaf citizens’ participation in all governmental decision making process affecting all aspects of their lives;
- Call upon all Nations to involve their Deaf citizens to assist parents of Deaf infants, children and youth in the appreciation of the Deaf culture and sign languages;
- Call upon all Nations to support a child-centred approach in educational programs and a family-centred approach in all support services for both Deaf and hearing family members;
- Call upon all Nations to refer all identified Deaf infants to regional and national organizations of the Deaf, schools and programs for the Deaf for support with early intervention
Given the fact that the "EHDI programming is aligned with grantee expectations of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) which are the primary funding sources for the EHDI program" and there at stipulations in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Section 503 and the Americans with Disabilities Act Title II that prohibit discrimination against Deaf people and also endorse encouraging Deaf applicants for certain government related positions, the restriction of the audiology degree is unneeded, unwarranted, and unjust for this job.
We, Audism Free America, request that you expand the job requirement to accept applicants who hold Masters degrees in Deaf education, communication studies, bilingualism and other related fields. These degrees often include studies about early intervention, assistive listening devices, audiology and speech, American Sign Language, Deaf culture, bilingualism, cognitive development, language acquisition and development and more.
Once the degree requirement has been justly expanded to include these other appropriate areas, we will gladly help promote this position and search.
Thank you in advance for your attention to this important matter. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.
Let Freedom Roll,
Patti Durr, Karen Chrisite, and Ruthie Jordan on Behalf of Audism Free America