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TDI Grows In Stature (2008 – PRESENT)

(2008) TDI becomes more visible in political activities by sponsoring local delegates at the Democratic convention in Denver, Colorado and the Republican convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. TDI receives funding from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights for promoting the upcoming digital television transition to deaf and hard of hearing people across the nation. TDI offers a series of three consumer advocacy weekend training seminars sponsored by Hamilton Relay in Boston, Madison, and Sacramento. TDI leads a coalition of consumer organizations in drafting a list of more than 60 recommendations for President-Elect Obama’s agenda. TDI World magazines review the wave of new portable video and CapTel® devices with enhanced mobility features, the upcoming digital television transition and the FCC ten-digit telephone numbering plan for Internet-based relay service.

(2009) “Washington, D.C.: Where Access Begins” was the theme at the 18th Biennial TDI International Conference, held in the historic Mayflower hotel. The keynote speaker, Mr. Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy was the first White House official to speak at a TDI Conference. TDI Conference participants meet with their Congressional representatives and advocate for the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) bill at the United States Capitol. TDI broadcasts its first vlog “Its Our World!” about the CVAA and another vlog with a year-end look at TDI’s accomplishments. Both vlogs were sponsored by Hamilton Relay, featuring sign language, captioning, and voiceover for maximum access.

(2010) TDI and disability organizations celebrated at the White House ceremony marking the enactment of the CVAA as President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in the East Room on October 8, 2010. The implementation of the National Broadband Plan Comments spurred numerous comments to public notices concerning access to 9-1-1 and emergency alerting services on broadband networks. TDI testified before the US Access Board during its hearings on revised standards and guidelines for Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act, praising the focus on the abilities of the end users rather than on device or transmission protocols that could soon be outdated. Executive Director Claude Stout was appointed to serve on CTIA’s Accessibility Advisory Council to advise on improvements needed for its AccessWireless.org website. TDI assisted Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) on making captioned telephone relay services mandatory in all 50 states. The American Association of the Deaf Blind (AADB) receives assistance from TDI on comments in setting up a National Deaf Blind Equipment Distribution Program as required by the CVAA. With sponsorship from Sorenson Communications, TDI presented a consumer advocacy training seminar in Lakewood, Colorado. TDI conducted first online survey to gather data on programming that lack captioning. TDI World magazines covered the CEPIN Program and advances in emergency preparedness, the 18th Biennial TDI International Conference in Washington, D.C., and the rise of social media as an advocacy tool. Several eNotes went out announcing FCC developments, CVAA legislation milestones, new advocacy initiatives, industry news, CEPIN conferences, action alerts and surveys. Following the success of the initial Its Our World Too! vlogs in late 2009, TDI produced more vlogs highlighting the CEPIN program, responding to FCC’s interim VRS rate proposals and its notice of inquiry on the future of VRS. Former US Access Board Member and TDI Board Member, Pamela Holmes was nominated to serve on National Council on Disability. Robert McConnell joined TDI as its new Advertising Manager and Andy Perlman, a long-time CEPIN instructor and firefighter, joined the staff as the new CEPIN Outreach Manager.

(2011) TDI started off the year by filing the Universal Captioning Petition that asks the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to eliminate some of the long-standing exemptions to captioning certain TV programs such as those airing from 2am to 6am and commercials. “The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act: Challenges and Opportunities” was the theme for the 19th Biennial TDI International Conference in Austin, Texas. About 250 people registered for the Conference, and this was the first year TDI offered online registration. Commissioner Michael J. Copps gave an overview of his tenure at the Federal Communications Commission since his inaugural speech at the 14th Biennial TDI International Conference in Sioux Falls, SD upon his US Senate confirmation ten years ago. TDI World issues for this year covered mobile relay apps, the human side of accessible technology, television and Internet captioning, captioned telephone, TDI Conference and the CVAA. Our vlogs covered several regulatory actions by the FCC affecting video relay services, the nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System, and promoted the TDI Conference in Austin. One vlog was produced by two student interns, Mika Bennett-Fraychineaud and Oliver Lee from the Model Secondary School for the Deaf at Gallaudet University. TDI expands its online presence through numerous eNotes and social media postings through FaceBook and Twitter acknowledging significant accessibility milestones, FCC regulations, TDI sponsors, surveys, action alerts and many other topics.

(2012) TDI embarks on fundraising campaign with an eNote How Much Do You Love TDI? Just before the summer travel season, TDI launches a new ongoing survey on hotel and motel accessibility. A coalition of consumer groups led by TDI with support from the Institute of Public Representation (IPR) petition the FCC to reconsider its exemption of online video clips from captioning and files complaint against Amazon for noncompliance with captioning rules. TDI moves to a smaller office within same building. TDI’s leadership work on Internet captioning nets award from sister advocacy organization, National Association of the Deaf, along with IPR and Computer Prompting and Captioning. TDI partners with AT&T to provide resources for deaf and hard of hearing driver safety campaign at //ItCanWait.com

(2013) TDI’s pro-bono attorneys at the Institute for Public Representation with the help of Dr. Christian Vogler and the Technology Access Program (TAP) at Gallaudet University files report on compliance with FCC’s IP captioning rules, noting non-compliance by Amazon. With the collaboration of TAP, TDI hosts the International Telecommunications Union meeting at Gallaudet University during June. During October, TDI held its 20th conference jointly with Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with the theme “Working Together For Access”, an historical first conference hosted by two national organizations serving deaf and hard of hearing people. The President, Dr. Roy Miller retires from the TDI Board after twenty years of service, as well as another long-time board member, Carol Sliney. Sheila Conlon-Mentkowski from the West Region in California takes up the reins as President. Fred Weiner, Rebecca Rosenthal, and Joe Duarte continue their respective roles as Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Long time Public Relations Director, Jim House leaves to relocate to Oregon for family reasons.