Commission Established through 2007 Legislation
The Georgia Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (GaCDHH) was created to:
- Advocate on behalf of Deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) persons by working to ensure those persons have equal access to the services, programs, and opportunities available to others.
- Advise the Governor, General Assembly, Commissioner of Human Services, and Commissioner of Community Health on the development of policies, programs, and services affecting DHH persons and on the use of appropriate federal and state funds for such purposes.
- Create a public awareness of the special needs and potential of DHH persons;
- Recommend to the Governor, General Assembly, Commissioner of Human Services, and Commissioner of Community Health legislation designed to improve the economic and social conditions of DHH persons in this state.
- Propose solutions to problems of DHH persons in the areas of education, employment, human rights, human services, health, housing, and other related programs.
- Work with other state and federal agencies and private organizations to promote economic development for DHH persons.
- Coordinate its efforts with other state and local agencies serving DHH persons.
- Assist DHH persons and parents of DHH students by advocating for equal access to services, programs, and opportunities.
Commission Expanded in 2018
In 2018, significant modifications were made to the code that guides the work of the Commission. It was presented to the Georgia Legislature as HB 844 and signed as Act 462.
The purpose of this legislation was to:
- Change the composition of the Commission to be more representative of the DHH and DeafBlind (DB) community.
- Codify the monitoring of the language and literacy outcomes of DHH and DB children from birth through third grade.
- Advocate for the DB Community.
The Composition of the Commission
The Commission is a working board of 12 volunteers. The first ten members are appointed by the Governor; the remaining two are appointed by the Georgia Assembly leadership. The commissioners have the following qualifications:
- DHH adult whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL)
- DHH adult whose primary languages are spoken English and ASL
- DHH adult whose primary language is Spoken English
- DB adult
- Adult who became deaf after the age of 18 years
- Parent of a DHH child who uses Spoken English exclusively
- Parent of a DHH child who uses ASL
- Otolaryngologist or audiologist who serves DHH people
- Private provider of services for DHH people
- Adult involved with programs that serve DHH people
- One at-large position appointed by Senate Committee on Assignments
- One at-large position appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives
Follow this link to see who are the current Commissioners.
Monitoring the Language and Literacy Outcomes of DHH Children
The legislation passed in 2018 (OCGA § 30-1-5) requires the Commission to submit an annual report to the Governor and General Assembly on the language and literacy outcomes for DHH children birth to third grade in the state of Georgia. Annual reports can be found below.
- Pathways: Language and literacy for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children
- Georgia Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Georgia Capitol Hill Accessibility Guide for Visitors with Disabilities
- Marlee Matlin on Deaf and Police Interaction
- Georgia Department of Public Health: COVID-19 Resources for People with Disabilities
- CDC information about COVID-19 in ASL
- Telehealth Guidance and Resources: Communication Access for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind Patients and their Providers
- Chuck Leavell, Georgia Music Hall of Fame member, discusses the importance of hearing loss prevention.