Services → Communication Facilitator (CF)
& Video Communication Program
On this page:
- What is a Communication Facilitator (CF)?
- Communication Facilitator Roles & Responsibilities
- Communication Facilitator and Video Communications Trainings & Presentations
- What is Video Relay Service (VRS)?
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.Back to top of page
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.Back to top of page
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
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.
- DSHS has a list of Washington VRS providers and numbers that can be used to contact a deaf-blind or deaf person.
- Harris Communications has an example of the equipment often connected to a TV to be used as a Videophone.
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