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Services → Communication Facilitator (CF)
& Video Communication Program

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What is a Communication Facilitator (CF)?

The Deaf-Blind Service Center is contracted with the State of Washington's Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing to provide CF services and video communication awareness for deaf-blind community members. DBSC is the first and only agency in the US to provide a CF program.

Deaf-blind people use Communication Facilitators to access videophones (VP) and Video Relay Services (VRS) through the (CFs). A communication facilitator, or CF, is a skilled signer who copies sign language from a caller, as shown on a videophone screen, and provides visual information to a deaf-blind person, through close vision or tactile sign language, during VRS and/or face-to-face calls with another signer.

DBSC trains and coordinates CFs and can provide them upon request at the deaf-blind person’s home, in public places such as Starbucks or the library, or at DBSC, the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, or the Hearing Loss Center in Yakima.

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Communication Facilitator Roles & Responsibilities

CFs remain neutral and do not educate, counsel, or advocate with DB CF users.

Users are provided with a brief training on how to use a CF prior to making any VP calls. DBSC can also provide extensive training on how to use the VP if the user is not familiar with how to make a VP call.

This benefits DB CF users by allowing them to freely express themselves in their own language and to communicate directly without worrying about English being their second language.

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Communication Facilitator and Video Communications Trainings & Presentations

DBSC provides CF and video communications trainings and awareness presentations in these areas:

  • Video communication information including Video Relay Service, Video Relay Interpreters, direct calling, and referral
  • Video equipment training, such as VP-200, and mobile devices with built-in webcams, such as an iPad or a laptop
  • Video Relay Service, Point to Point (P2P, or direct calls), and CF communication
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What is Video Relay Service (VRS)?

Video Relay Service, or VRS, provides American Sign Language translation for a deaf-blind or deaf person through the use of a videophone. An individual using sign language calls a Video Relay Interpreter (VRI) who interprets between the caller and a voice user. VRSs are provided by various companies: Sprint, AT&T, Sorenson, Purple, Hamilton VRS, ZVRS, and other VRS providers.

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