Group Members Advocate to Improve DMV Services for Their Community

Stories

At the Deaf Community Services Clubhouse self-advocacy group, PSA staff teaches group members about their right to be free from discrimination and receive services in a language they understand. In response to a group member’s frustrating experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the PSA group advocated to have DMV staff attend their meeting to voice their concerns, educate them about deaf culture and learn more about services for people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Sharing the difficulties they had communicating with DMV staff, the DMV manager explained they provide ASL interpreters at no cost. He gave them phone numbers to call to schedule an interpreter if a staff member was not available to interpret. Showing a sign posted at the DMV door regarding their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, he gave information and tips on how to file a complaint, if needed. 

Group members expressed their struggles with the written test to get a driver’s license. DMV staff informed them about tools to help them study, such as three sample tests in ASL, a driver’s handbook on YouTube in ASL, DMV tests in accessible formats like ASL videos, and touchscreen options in English and Spanish. The group explained ASL is a completely different language and many use different forms of ASL. They clarified that people have various levels of deafness and not every person who is deaf understands ASL. One group member suggested making ASL options available on the touchscreens.

The DMV staff agreed to share the information and suggestions with their coworkers. They left their contact information and offered to return to the clubhouse to answer more questions and help them with any future problems. By speaking up, identifying problems and seeking solutions, the group members’ advocacy helped them achieve their goal of improving services for their community.