11. Effective Communication
The requirement to provide effective communication appears in a number of County policies, directives, and notices, many of which have been referenced or included in other sections in this review package. However, the instruction on how to comply with this ADA requirement, i.e. the implementation, is contained the various training materials that the ADA Manager uses in all training sessions. These materials form the specific policies for providing effective communication and are included in this folder.
An brief outline from the Law Department used for training department heads and managers in February and March of 1992 forms the original directive to the County regarding effective communication as well as all other ADA requirements.
The training package used for all new employee training is attached. Please see the highlighted areas which apply to this section. This package has been used in essentially the same form since 1994. The County's New Employee Orientation is mandatory, and includes "ADA Awareness Training". A video entitled "(Dis)Ability Awareness" is part of the presentation, and illustrates means of providing effective communication for those with a sensory loss or a cognitive difference. It is impressed on every new employee that implementation of the ADA is done at their level, and the County expects them to be "good ambassadors" and good citizens in fulfilling this role.
(Since 1994 the ADA has provided perhaps 50 training sessions across departments to existing employees to catch up with those who were hired prior to the New Employee Orientation being offered.)
Supervisory training materials include the above training package for new employees, as well the other training materials which are so marked. These materials provide a great deal of specific information regarding, among other things, providing effective communication. The ADA Manager provides this training. The enclosed materials were used for the initial supervisory training in 1993, which trained 600 supervisors, managers and others responsible for implementing policy in the course of 10 identical sessions. The same package, with minor updating is still used. All supervisors are advised that they are expected to communicate this information to their staff members, and to ensure that these measures are implemented.
The ADA Manager also trains new Court Deputies and Jail Deputies in ADA Awareness. These classes receive and are instructed the same materials as used in "New Employee Orientation". In addition to this they receive and are instructed in materials that are more specific to the area of law enforcement. These materials in included and are so marked.
The Sheriff's Department has provided a number of additional materials used in training offered by their own department. They are included.
There is additional information provided from other departments.
The County also takes responsibility for other special training tasks. For example, just prior to the opening of Frontier Field, the County ADA Manager, assisted by a panel of folks from the disability community, provided training to 400 employees and vendors, to prepare them for sensitively and effectively communicating with and serving their customers with disabilities.
Several large meeting areas of the County have assistive listening systems. Portable systems are used elsewhere as needed.
Most County departments have sign language service contracts; other departments contract for this service on a per diem basis. All large public County events include sign interpretation. County-related news stories are carried on networks which provide captioning for their news broadcasts.
In Rochester, our Public Broadcasting provides "ReachOut Radio", which uses a one-station radio given to our legally blind citizens for free. This service reads aloud the news, public service announcements, and other important information.
Monroe County's web site provides a tremendous amount of useful information to our public, including to our 9,000 deaf citizens. This web information may be accessed by people who are blind or visually impaired at our main library and at other locations.