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Advocacy and Your Rights

Advocacy Services

  1. Deaf Refugee Advocacy (Rochester, NY)
    An organization that provides support to refugees, asylum-seekers, and immigrants through education, social programs, advocacy, and more.
  1. Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH)
    MCDHH is a state agency that serves the interests of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people of all ages living in Massachusetts. Some of the services they offer include: interpreter/CART referral,  adult and children’s case management, substance use disorder support, and communication access and technology technical support and training. MCDHH funds Deaf and Hard of Hearing Independent Living Services in 8 regions statewide. These regions are served by the following agencies:
    1. DEAF, Inc.
      DEAF, Inc. provides advocacy, education, and resources, DeafBlind services, American Sign Language classes, and more. DEAF, Inc. serves Eastern MA, including Cape Cod and the Islands.
    2. Center for Living and Working
      CLW’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Independent Living Services program provides skills training, mentoring, American Sign Language education, and more, in the Central Massachusetts region.
    3. Viability, Inc.
      Viability, Inc.’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing program provides independent living services, and more, in the Western Massachusetts and Berkshire regions.

Grassroots Advocacy

  1. Disability Law Center (DLC)
    DLC provides legal advocacy on disability issues that promote the fundamental rights of all people with disabilities to participate fully and equally in the social and economic life of Massachusetts. ASL-interpreted video available here.
  1. HEARD - Helping Educate to Advance the Rights of the Deaf (Washington, D.C.)
    A volunteer-run organization, HEARD advocates for incarcerated Deaf/disabled individuals, provides support with re-entry into the community, community education, and more. 
  1. Massachusetts State Association of the Deaf (MSAD)
    MSAD is a chapter of the National Association of the Deaf and was established to advocate for the rights and needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in Massachusetts by sharing information and facilitating community activism in favor or against legislation that impacts the community. 
    1. See also:
      Western Massachusetts Association of the Deaf

Legal Aid

  1. About Legal Aid in Massachusetts
  1. How to Find and Work with a Lawyer
    Law and Advocacy Center, National Association of the Deaf (Washington, D.C.) 
  1. Legal Aid Resources
    The resources on this page are compiled by the State of Massachusetts  and include legal advice, low-income services, and private lawyer referrals in regions across the state.
  1. Legal Resource Finder
    Resource hub for all types of legal problems, including housing and homelessness, wills and estates, and divorce.

Your Rights

  1. Guide to Civil Rights in Massachusetts
    Guide from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office on residents' civil rights, including disability, housing, education, and related resources and publications.
    1. See also: Filing a Civil Rights Complaint
  1. Massachusetts Office on Disability (MOD)
    MOD provides information, guidance, and training on disability-related civil rights and obligations so that people with disabilities and the organizations that serve them are aware of the rights and obligations for access.
  1. MassLegalHelp
    Compiled by legal aid programs, this website helps you find information about your legal rights in Massachusetts related to domestic violence, housing, disability, employment, and much more. 
  1. National Association of the Deaf (NAD) (Washington, D.C.)
    NAD is the nation’s primary civil rights organization of, by, and for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people, to preserve, protect, and promote the civil, human, and linguistic rights of Deaf and Hard of Hearing people in the United States.
    1. See also:
      1. NAD Resources
      2. Advocacy Letters
  1. Self-Advocacy Training Toolkit for Deaf/DeafBlind
    Curriculum provided by the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers aimed at teaching Deaf people to advocate for effective interpreting services.
    1. More resources here: Healthcare Access

ASL-Accessible Information on Public Programs 

  1. Disability Policy Consortium (DPC)
    DPC works to advance the rights of persons with disabilities throughout Massachusetts by organizing support for inclusive policies and system changes.
  1. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ASL Consumer Support Line
    Consumers who wish to receive assistance in ASL for filing informal complaints or for consumer information may contact the FCC's ASL Consumer Support Line at 844-4-FCC-ASL (844-432-2275).
  1. How to Register to Vote in MA (YouTube)
    Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth
  1. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Information in ASL
    The IRS maintains a collection of ASL videos about taxes, tax preparation, and other topics relevant to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). All videos are accompanied by text transcripts.
  1. Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance
    (This is not an exhaustive list)some text
    1. TAFDC and EAEDC Cash Benefits (YouTube)
    2. DTA Connect mobile app (YouTube)
    3. Domestic Violence services (YouTube) 
    4. VRI access at walk-in services
  1. Social Security Administration some text
    1. Social Security, SSI, and Medicare     
    2. Ticket to Work Pathway to Employment

American Sign Language Classes


  1. Selecting a Sign Language Class
    1. Persons considering taking ASL classes are encouraged to start here.
      1. DEAF, Inc. (Eastern Massachusetts)
        DEAF, Inc. offers in-person and remote ASL classes.
      2. The Learning Center for the Deaf (Framingham, MA)
        ASL classes offered in person and remotely.
      3. Center for Living and Working, Inc. (Worcester, MA)
        To inquire about Community ASL Classes, please email:
      4. Children’s Center for Communication at the Beverly School for the Deaf (Beverly, MA)
        Small-group ASL classes held online, with some offered in person.
      5. American Society for Deaf Children
        Online classes for parents and kids


  1. ASL Connect
    Gallaudet University (Washington, D.C.)
  1. ASL Studies Program
    Northern Essex Community College (Haverhill, MA)
  1. ASL and Interpreting Education Program
    Northeastern University (Boston, MA)

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

  1. Asian Signers
    A Deaf-led nonprofit that promotes Asian representation in ASL culture, literature, and education.

  2. BIPOC Deaf Artists
  1. Black Deaf Resources (Joseph C. Hill, Ph.D) 
  1. Council de Manos
    Advocacy organization run by and for Latinx people who are Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf Disabled, Hard of Hearing, or Late-Deafened.
  1. Deaf Women of Color
    Organization that advocates for Deaf women who are persons of color; also hosts a biennial conference.
  1. National Black Deaf Advocates
    NBDA is an organization that advocates for Black Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and has local chapters nationwide.
  1. Native American/Indigenous Resources
    Communication Services for the Deaf
  1. Southern California Asian Deaf Association
    This organization produces videos on various topics related to the Asian experience. They also host a Family Camp.
  1. Webinar: Indigenous Deaf Community
    National Association of the Deaf

Communication Tools

Printable Communication Cards

These printable cards contain pictures to help facilitate communication between Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and health and safety personnel. They were produced by the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in collaboration with local programs.

  1. COVID-19 (Medical) Card (pdf)
    Designed to help medical providers communicate with Deaf and Hard of Hearing people during medical appointments. Available in large print, screen reader accessible format, and nine other languages.
  1. Emergency Services Card (pdf)
    Designed to help Deaf and Hard of Hearing people communicate with first responders like EMTs and firefighters. The card is also available in large print and a screen reader accessible format.
  1. Visor Card (pdf)
    The Visor Card is used by police officers to communicate with Deaf and Hard of Hearing drivers during traffic stops.


  1. Apps for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People
    Provided by the National Association of the Deaf, this list contains various apps for different types of communication, such as speech-to-text or web-based captions for phone calls.

Communication Access, Interpreters, and Assistive Technology

Accommodations and Assistive Technology

  1. Access and Accommodations
    National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes 
  1. Assistive Technology
    North Carolina Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

  1. Assistive Technology for Hearing 
    Hearing Loss Association of America

  1. Assistive Technology 
    Minnesota Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Division 

  1. Requesting Reasonable Accommodations and Modifications in Housing
    Information provided by Metro Housing Boston about what your rights and responsibilities are when requesting accommodations or modifications from your housing provider. This information also applies to regions outside of Boston.

Communication Access Service Providers

  1. Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH)
    If you have never used MCDHH before, leave a message with the Front Desk at 617-740-1600 and a person from the Interpreter Referral Department will contact you to get you set up. Afterwards, requests can be made online here
    1. See also:
      1. Emergency or After-Hours Interpreter Requests
        Request Interpreting or CART Services
  2. Partners Interpreting (PI)
    PI is a private business based in the South Shore region that offers full-service interpreting and captioning services, including Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) services.
  3. Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID)
    RID is a professional organization that administers national interpreter certifications and maintains the professional and ethical standards of interpreting. Their search engine can be used to identify nationally certified ASL interpreters, including Certified Deaf Interpreters (CDIs).
  1. The Learning Center for the Deaf (TLC)
    Based in Framingham, TLC provides interpreters in a variety of educational and community settings, primarily in Central MA.
  1. Deaf Interpreters Directory
    National ASsociation of the Deaf 
  1. The Association for Court Reporters and Captioners
    Organization that sets the national standard for court reporting and captioning, and issues certifications. A list of CART providers is also available.

More Information 

  1. Interpreting: qualifications, confidentiality, and more
    National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
  1. Using Sign Language Interpreters During a Zoom Meeting
    Northern Essex Community College (Haverhill, MA)
  1. Tips for Working with an ASL Interpreter
    National Institutes of Health

Community and Culture

  1. #deaffriendly
    This site lists reviews from Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers about their experiences accessing the businesses in their area. Their search engine lists “Deaf-friendly” businesses in the zip code you provide. Also, use the hashtag #deaffriendly in social media to find additional businesses that are spotlighted.
  1. #whyisign
    This website contains personal stories about why people learned sign language for the Deaf people in their lives. Find stories across social media with the #whyisign hashtag.
  1. Atomic Hands
    Launched by two Deaf STEMists to expand ASL in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, this organization produces science videos and other resources in ASL.
  1. Boston Access Advocates for the Deaf (Facebook)
    Members of this group share information and resources related to advocacy.
  1. CorpsTHAT
    An organization that connects the Deaf community to the outdoors through education and recreation. Based in Baltimore, MD.
  1. Daily Moth
    Current events and Deaf-related news presented in ASL.
  1. Deaf-owned Businesses
    A list of Deaf-owned businesses in industries from HVAC to photography to travel is provided by Communication Services for the Deaf. #shopdeaf
  1. Deaflympics
    The Deaflympics is a series of multi-sport events sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee at which Deaf athletes compete at an elite level. The Summer Games have been held since 1924, and the Winter Games since 1949.
  1. DPAN (Deaf Performing Arts Network)
    Non-profit organization that produces ASL music videos and ASL-related video content, including the Daily Moth, an ASL-accessible source of national news featuring anchors who are Deaf.
  1. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston – ASL Tours (YouTube)
    1. See also:
      Accessibility information
  1. Southeast-Cape Cod 55+ Deaf Social (Facebook)
    Members of this group share information about social events for older adults in the Southeast/Cape Cod region.

  2. Voice of the Deaf Community in Massachusetts (Facebook)
    This page provides a forum for sharing information about events, news, trends, and resources. 
  3. World Federation of the Deaf
    An organization that promotes human rights and access to sign language for Deaf people around the globe.


  1. 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline
    For anyone experiencing a crisis, including individuals struggling with substance addiction, LGBTQI+ youth and young adults, and veterans.
    1. As of Sep. 8, 2023: To connect directly to a trained 988 Lifeline counselor in ASL, Deaf and Hard of Hearing callers can click the "ASL Now" button on and follow the prompts. Direct dialing to 988 from a videophone will be available in the coming weeks, and in the meantime, ASL callers can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) from their videophone to reach ASL services. 
  1. Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS)
    ADWAS provides comprehensive services to individuals and families who are survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and harassment. 
  1. Deaf Overcoming Violence through Empowerment (DOVE)
    Based in Colorado, DOVE provides advocacy for Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled or Hard of Hearing survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

  2. DeafHope
    Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, DeafHope supports Deaf survivors of domestic and sexual violence. Their website hosts a variety of relevant videos. 
  1. Deaf Hotline
    Formed by a partnership between Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services and the National Domestic Violence Hotline, this ASL-accessible hotline is open 24/7 for Deaf individuals experiencing abuse. Call 855-812-1001.
  1. DeafLEAD Crisis Line
    24-hour crisis line for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals; call 321-800-3323.
  1. Deaf Abused Womens Network (DAWN)
    Non-profit based in Washington, D.C. that supports Deaf survivors of abuse.
  1. LGBT National Help Center
    Peer support, information, and local resources are provided through this program, including a national hotline; call 888-843-4564
  1. Pathways for Change Deaf Survivors Program (Worcester, MA)
    Formerly Our Deaf Sisters Survivor Support Project, this program provides culturally affirmative support services to Deaf survivors of sexual and domestic violence through education, empowerment, and advocacy, and promotes awareness of cultural and linguistic considerations to service providers working with Deaf survivors. 
  1. National Sexual Assault Hotline
    Operated by RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network), this hotline is open 24/7 through phone or chat to anyone who needs help.
  2. Off-the-Grid Missions (San Diego, CA)
    Humanitarian aid organization that fills the gap in disaster response by providing Deaf and Hard of Hearing people with critical life-saving resources in high-risk and disaster-stricken regions around the world.


Hard of Hearing and Late-Deafened 

  1. Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA)
    An inclusive organization that provides information, support, and social enrichment for individuals with hearing loss.
    1. See also:
      Current Chapters and Groups

  1. HearingTracker
    An independent website that offers forums for questions, answers, and discussions about assistive technology and hearing. 
  1. Hearing Loss Association (HLAA)
    HLAA is a national organization that advocates at the federal level for people with hearing loss. HLAA provides information, education, and support to individuals and their families about living with hearing loss.
    1. See also:
      Find a Chapter

  1. Modern Guide to Hearing Loss
    This guide, published by the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, contains information for Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals that includes issues of health and wellbeing, accessibility, communications, technology, and more.

Health and Wellness


  1. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ombudsman
    A service provided by the Disability Policy Consortium, myOmbudsman serves MassHealth members and their families who are enrolled in specific health plans and addresses questions or concerns about their benefits and rights as a MassHealth member. Deaf and Hard of Hearing MassHealth members may contact the Deaf & Hard of Hearing Ombudsman for support. 
  1. DEAF, Inc.’s Deaf Health Channel
    Archived YouTube channel with health-related information in ASL, produced by DEAF, Inc.
  1. DeafHealthAccess
    A public health education channel that creates ASL vlogs about health topics, provided through the Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD).

Healthcare Access

  1. Obligation of Medical Professionals to Provide Interpreters
    Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing

  1. Guide for Hard of Hearing Patients and their Healthcare Providers
    Hearing Loss Association of America
  1. Medical Communication Access for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    National Association of the Deaf
  1. Accessibility Problems at a Hospital: How to File a Complaint
    Massachusetts Department of Public Health
    Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
    1. See also:
      Information about the complaint process (ASL)
      How to complete the complaint form (ASL)

Clinical Mental Health Services

  1. Resource Directory of Mental Health Services for Deaf Persons (Gallaudet University)
  1. Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at the MA Department of Mental Health
    1. Inpatient Mental Health Services
      Provides accessible support services to Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind individuals with mental health conditions, including acute stabilization, evaluation, recovery, continuing care, and more.
    2. Deaf Respite Program
      Provides Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and DeafBlind adults experiencing psychiatric crises with access to community-based, short-term support to help them recover and transition back to community living. All aspects of the program are designed to meet the cultural, communication, and therapeutic needs of Deaf individuals.
      1. See also:
        Advocates Deaf Services

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual + Plus

  1. Deaf and Queer Leaders
    Article featuring Deaf and Queer leaders written by We Create Space, a queer-led community network.
  2. Deaf Gay Napoleon Club
    A social club on Facebook for Deaf gay men and advocates in the New England region; also open to Deaf-friendly individuals who sign
  3. Deaf Queer Resource Center
    Based in San Francisco, the DQRC offers information, advocacy, networking, and much more through their social media.
  4. Deaf Rainbow UK
    Based in the UK, this organization shares stories, information, and much more.
  5. Rainbow Alliance of the Deaf (RAD)
    National organization serving the interests of the Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Queer community through fellowship, education, advocacy, and outreach.

Older Adults

  1. Deaf Seniors of America
    An organization that focuses on representation, networking, and resources for older Deaf and Hard of Hearing adults, including a biennial conference.
  1. New England Homes for the Deaf (Danvers, MA)
    NEHD is an assisted living facility for Deaf and DeafBlind people; residential and health care services are also available. NEHD shares its campus with Thompson House.
  1. Thompson House (Danvers, MA)
    Thompson House is a HUD-subsidized independent living home for Deaf and DeafBlind individuals. Thompson House shares its campus with the New England Homes for the Deaf. 
  1. Resources for Seniors
    Compiled by the National Association of the Deaf, this list identifies organizations and resources for seniors in each state.


504 Plans/Individual Accommodation Plans

  1. Basic Information about 504 Plans/Individual Accommodation Plans  
    Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts
  1. Navigating the IEP Process
    American Society for Deaf Children


  1. DEAFinitely, Inc. (Metro Boston)
    Program for Deaf and hearing youth age 7-22 that centers on the performing arts and social impact.
  1. Email List for parents of Deaf children
    This email list shares information about events and resources for parents and caregivers of Deaf children, and is from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.
    1. Contact Katie McCarthy at and ask to be added to the distribution list. resources for parents of Deaf children.
  1. Shared Reading Saturday (Haverhill, MA)
    This program teaches parents and caregivers how to read to their Deaf children and provides childcare and children’s activities while the sessions take place. Instruction is provided in ASL, English, and Spanish.
  1. VL2 Storybook Apps
    Produced by Gallaudet University’s Motion Light Lab, these ASL stories are rich in ASL and visual detail; some are available on their website and others are available via apps.
  1. KODAheart
    A website that celebrates the kinship shared by the community of CODAs/KODAs (Child/Kid of a Deaf Adult).
    1. See also:
      List of camps for Deaf and KODA youth

Parent and Caregiver Support

  1. Support groups, guides, and other information for parents and caregivers
    Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate
  1. Information and Resource Finder
    Federation for Children with Special Needs

Services for Deaf Children

  1. CAPS Collaborative
    CAPS provides an inclusion-based learning pathway through partnerships with K-12 schools across MA through services such as speech and language, educational interpreting, and more.
  1. Children’s Services at the MA Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearingsome text
    1. Overview in ASL
  1. Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program at Boston Children’s Hospital
    Based in Waltham, this program offers a variety of evaluations and therapy, education and outreach support, and more.
  1. READS Collaborative
    Based in Middleboro, READS offers early intervention services, and K-12 education in mainstream settings through partnerships with nearby school districts.
  1. The Children’s Center for Communication at the Beverly School for the Deaf
    Based in Beverly, CCCBSD offers a parent-infant program, K-12 education, clinical services, and more.
  1. The Learning Center for the Deaf
    Based in Framingham, The Learning Center offers a parent-infant program, K-12 education, behavioral health services, audiology services, and more.

  2. Willie Ross School for the Deaf
    Based in Longmeadow, Willie Ross offers services including occupational and physical therapy, audiology, consultation, and academic services.
  1. Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program

Providers who work with D/HOH

  1. DEAF, Inc. []
    Provides remote and onsite training and education on the Deaf, Hard of Hearing, DeafBlind, and Late-Deafened community, culture, and norms.

  2. DeafYES! Trainings
    Provides training on trauma, mental health and addiction in the Deaf community to mental health professionals and the community.
  1. Communication Access, Training and Technology Services (CATTS)
    The CATTS department at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing provides training, technical assistance, and consultation to organizations who wish to improve their accessibility to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
  1. Communication Methods Used by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individuals (pdf)
    North Carolina Division of Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  1. Deaf 101
    Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center
  1. ADA Brief on Communicating with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Hospital Settings
    U.S. Department of Justice


  1. Center for Deaf Health Equity
    Based at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., the Center for Deaf Health Equity is a research center that focuses on the health-related quality of life among Deaf and Hard of Hearing people who use sign language to communicate.
  1. Deaf Wellness Center
    The Deaf Wellness Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, NY, provides clinical psychiatry services, and conducts teaching and research activities that pertain to mental health, healthcare, sign language interpreting, and other topics that affect the lives of Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
  1. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
    Peer-reviewed scholarly journal on cultural, developmental, linguistic, and educational topics related to Deaf individuals.
  1. National Center for Deaf Health Research (NCDHR)
    Conducts health promotion and disease prevention activities through collaborative, community-based participatory research aimed at eliminating health disparities in deaf and hard of hearing populations.
  1. National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes
    Produces research and data, learning modules, resources, and more related to the postsecondary experiences and outcomes of Deaf individuals.

Substance Use and Addiction Services

      1. Substance Use Services
        Information about accessible services and resources for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing individuals seeking support with addiction.
      1. AA & NA Recovery Support Meetings with ASL or CART
        Monthly list of recovery support group meetings (AA, NA, and Al-Anon) with ASL or CART services. Remote and in-person options available.
      1. Bridgemark Addiction Recovery Services
        Nonprofit addiction treatment facility in Warwick, RI that provides a safe and stable environment for clients to learn and maintain a sober, drug and alcohol-free lifestyle; also serves d/Deaf people.
      1. Syringe Service Program
        Information from the Department of Public Health on list of places where syringes can be safely disposed of.