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CSD Creates Survey to Address Nationwide DTV Related Captioning Issues

In January, CSD announced that it had been awarded a contract from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to implement an awareness campaign targeted at the nation’s deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind consumers in regards to the digital TV (DTV) transition. To that end, CSD launched both a Help Center (call center) and a new Web site to provide DTV information and to help consumers solve their problems procuring coupons, installing converter boxes, choosing the best antenna for their geographic locale, and even more.

Although not a stipulation of the FCC contract, CSD and specific project partners — the National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH, the National Association of the Deaf, the Hearing Loss Association of America and a representative of the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology — have developed a closed captioning survey to further address captioning issues around the nation. At the end of the survey project, CSD’s collected data will be shared with the FCC to assist them in the myriad of captioning problems currently affecting deaf and hard of hearing consumers.

The survey can be found at Those without Internet access can call (877) 388-4968 and a Help Center agent will assist them with the survey.

Consumers are already finding the Help Desk to be a great resource. Help Center agent Amy Fox reported that recently a customer called in, upset because she couldn't get her converter box to work.  She called into several places for help, but they didn’t have a clue what to do to help her fix the problem.  Fox advised the customer to switch to channel 4, unplug the converter box, plug it back in, turn it on, hit the “Menu” button on her remote, and she was then able to scan for channels. 


Delores Barrett of Arizona had this to say about her Help Center experience: "Thank you for taking time to answer my questions about the converter box. My daughter and I struggled to understand the DTV transition. I appreciated the ease of communication via videophone with you today. I also met a representative at the Deaf Nation Expo recently (at Phoenix), that answered my converter box and coupon concerns. Thank you!”

CSD of Oklahoma Offers Free Help to “Kick the Habit”

To help deaf and hard of hearing smokers and other tobacco users in Oklahoma quit the use of tobacco products, CSD is promoting free cessation assistance, including patches and medication, through a partnership with the Tulsa City and County Health Department and the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline. The service is available seven days a week through Video Relay Service at 1-866-748-2436, through a direct TTY line at 1-800-332-8615 or you can use the regular text based relay service and then call through a voice line by dialing 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).


In an effort to reduce tobacco use, Congress passed an increase in federal taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products which will take effect March 31, 2009 and will apply to both tribal and non-tribal sales. Cigarette taxes will increase by 62 cents per pack.


Independent evaluation results show that combining Helpline coaching with the use of cessation medications increases a person’s chances of quitting eight times over trying to quit using the “cold turkey” method alone. The Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline is available seven days a week, both day and night. Services are also available in Spanish by calling 1-800-793-1552. For more information, please visit:

TLC honors CSD C.E.O. Ben Soukup at its 10th annual gala

The Learning Center for the Deaf (TLC), in Framingham, Mass., hosted its 10th annual Gala at the Boston-Newton Marriott Hotel, Tuesday, April 7. The annual event generates proceeds to benefit TLC’s Early Childhood Center and its Parent Infant Program (PIP). These programs are free to parents of deaf and hard of hearing toddlers and though it receives some support from the Department of Public Health, it’s not enough to cover the program’s costs in entirety.


The gala helps to raise both awareness and the needed funds to cover the remaining expenses. The evening included a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres as well as an elegant formal dinner and a full program of speakers and entertainment.


This year’s award honorees included: Linda Bove, a sign language pioneer in theatre and film; Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, an advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act and a friend to the state’s deaf and hard of hearing community; and Benjamin J. Soukup, CSD founder and chief executive officer.


More than 400 people were in attendance, breaking past records, and thousands of dollars were raised with the auction of donated items, gift baskets, certificates, vacation packages, sports memorabilia and box tickets to games at the Red Sox and Celtics. If you would like to obtain more information about next year’s Gala, contact Erin Sweeney, Development Assistant, at or call at 508-879-5110, Ext. 351 or visit TLC’s Web site at