Advocacy and Legal Rights
Every day KCDHH receives calls from deaf and hard of hearing individuals and their families who are struggling to overcome barriers they face as a result of hearing loss. For example, a family with a deaf child moves to Kentucky. He and his parents want him to be educated in his local school district, but he will need special accommodations. Another example is a deaf adult wants to attend a workshop or training offered to the public but he/she needs accommodations to participate. These are just a few of the examples of the advocacy requests we receive.
The KCDHH believes that advocacy is something that can involve everyone and is essential in making a difference.
Self-advocacy refers to an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate or assert his or her own interests, desires, needs and rights. It involves making informed decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions. (VanReusen et al., 1994)
Overcoming barriers deaf and hard of hearing people face on a daily basis becomes easier with empowerment and learning how to self-advocate effectively. One crucial part of that empowerment is learning about your rights. Please read about the specific disability rights laws on Your Rights and The Law page.
When funding permits, KCDHH is involved in providing leadership training opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in Kentucky and their families. If you are interested in receiving leadership training when KCDHH offers the next opportunity or you want further information, please complete and submit the online General Request For Information form. In the meantime, please read the information provided on this page to get started.
To learn how you can become an effective advocate for yourself or someone you know, check out The National Association of the Deaf Tips on Advocacy.
If you aren’t having any success advocating on your own behalf and feel that you need assistance to overcome barriers, you can always feel free to contact KCDHH. As an information, referral and advocacy agency we will do our best to assist or make appropriate referrals to agencies that can offer the best assistance for you and your needs.
Below are some additional suggestions and answers to questions you may have:
- Who can I contact for help?
- Where do I file a complaint?
- How do I know which laws will help me?
- What information should I have ready before I start a complaint?
Who can I contact for help?
Kentucky Commission on Human Rights
The Heyburn Building, Suite 700
332 West Broadway
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 595-4024 (T)
(502) 595-4801 (Fax)
The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights enforces the Kentucky Civil Rights Act and the U.S. Civil Rights Act, laws which make discrimination illegal.
The commission works to end discrimination and promote equality for everyone.
Protection and Advocacy
Division of the Department of Public Advocacy
100 Fair Oaks Lane, Suite 302
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-0848 (Fax)
Protection and Advocacy (P&A) is an independent state agency that was designated by the Governor as the protection and advocacy agency for Kentucky. P&A's staff includes professional advocates and attorneys. They work with people who have disabilities to promote and protect their legal rights. Through information and referral services, they try to answer questions about your rights under disability laws.
Where do I file a complaint?
The correct form to fill out will depend on your situation. Review the laws on Your Rights and the Law page and then find the agency that you feel is appropriate for your situation. If you have questions, please contact us through the KCDHH Request for Information page and a staff member will assist you.
What information should I have ready before I start a complaint?
It’s very important that you have all the information needed to file a formal complaint. Listed below is the information you will need.
- Your name, address and number where you can be contacted.
- List the organizations and agencies involved in the alleged act of discrimination. Also, include the contact information (address and phone number).
- The date the incident occurred or when it began.
- Explain the incident. State who was involved, what happened, how you felt you were discriminated and why you felt you were discriminated.
If you need a lawyer, contact the Legal Aid Society or the Kentucky Bar Association. You may also contact a private lawyer that has indicated they are interested in serving individuals with disabilities.
How do I know which laws will help me?
Many laws protect you as a deaf or hard of hearing person. Visit our Your Rights and the Law page to determine which law applies to your situation.