January 30, 2016

Services

Services Provided

The staff at DFS work to support Deaf or Hard of Hearing clients who need assistance in overcoming communication barriers and accessing community resources. Deaf Focus staff work with clients through our intake process to determine their individual needs and goals. Our agency is unique in that we are the only community agency specialized in serving people who are Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard of Hearing. As most of our staff are Deaf, we can provide first-hand knowledge for information on Deafness, sign language and other communication methods . We also coordinate with other agencies to ensure appropriate referrals are made in the event Deaf Focus is not able to meet individual client needs. Deaf Focus also  advocates for clients who are struggling to receive services and communication access. We provide workshops, information, and resources related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Early Hearing Detention and Intervention (EHDI).


Counseling

Counseling services at Deaf Focus, LLC are provided by professional licensed therapists, some of whom are Deaf. We specialize in working with Deaf people and their families and children with behavior needs. 

Psychotherapy services are reimbursable by many insurance plans. Now accepting Magellan, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, United Behavioral Health, and other insurance plans 

The department also offers a limited number of pro bono and sliding scale slots. Direct payment is also accepted.


Communication

Deaf Focus provides sign language interpreting through a network of over 30 qualified sign language interpreters.  We also provide advocacy services and communication support and consultation to employers.

Deaf Focus works to not only address the communication needs of the community by providing professional interpreting services, but by also providing learning opportunities including educating the public on communication access rights and responsibilities and importance of effective communication. We offer continuing education to our interpreters such as workshops and mentoring as well.


Community

EVENTS: Deaf Focus develops and organizes community events and activities such as Kidz Kamp for Deaf children, children of Deaf parents and children who would like to learn more about Deaf culture. We also provide a fun day for people within the Deaf-Blind community. Driving courses are provided through signing instructors who are able to directly communicate with Deaf and hearing people effectively. For more information about events, click on the tab, Community Events.

JOB ASSISTANCE: We provide job training, job placement and support employment. In order to assist Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, Deaf Focus works with Louisiana Rehabilitation Services (LRS) to  provide assistance with the job search process. Our job readiness training classes are typically one to three months in length and are offered in American Sign Language for our Deaf and Hard of Hearing consumers. In addition to proving assistance in resume and cover letter development and interview skills, we provide deaf and hard of hearing people with employment resources, internet access, and use of TTY and/or videophone (VP) for job searching, and contact information for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). For more information about supported employment,  job training and job placement, contact Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, 225-295-8900.

ASL CLASSES: We offer American Sign Language classes for those interested in learning a second language or improving their signing skills. Classes are provided several times a year. Our courses range in skill level from beginner to intermediate. Classes typically are for individuals age 15 years and older; however, we occasionally offer classes for children, too.


Orientation and Mobility Services

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) is the field dealing with systematic techniques by which blind and visually impaired persons orient themselves to their environments and move about independently.

A professional who specializes in teaching travel skills to visually impaired persons, including the use of canes, dog guides, and sophisticated electronic traveling aids, as well as the human guide technique.

Natasha Aymami is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) with the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) and is a Nationally Certified Sign Language Interpreter (NIC) with the Registry Interpreters of the Deaf (RID). Natasha is the only individual in the state of Louisiana with both certifications, which makes her the only professional with the skills to work with Deaf Blind individuals. O&M services is provided to both Deaf and hearing visually impaired individuals.

Contact Natasha Aymami if you are interested in this services or have any questions, contact via natasha.deaffocus@gmail.com, 225-319-5586, videophone number: 225-614-2900


Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment

The Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment (EIPA) Diagnostic Center is the only program of its kind in the world. The program focuses on supporting the unique skills required for sign interpretation in the educational setting. We provide performance assessment, written test and knowledge standards, and pre-hire screening.


ASL Classes

 Deaf Focus offers non-credit community sign language classes. Our American Sign Language (ASL) classes are offered to Adults and Children.  Our classes provide a variety of resources designed to support the goals of the class.We primarily use the Signing Naturally curriculum. Our classes provide an opportinity for you to increase your vocabulary and improve overall signing skills with others who are on the same skill level. Our ASL intructors are also culturally Deaf which allows students a unique learning experience.

If you have not taken any ASL classes, we would suggest you to start with Level I.  If you have had some classes previously or know some sign language, contact us for an appointment to meet with you and determine which class is best for you.  Adult Sign Language classes utilize the Signing Naturally curriculum. Textbooks can be purchased through Deaf Focus Services or you can order online at Amazon.com.