Phyllis Frelich, the Tony Award-winning actress in 1980 for her lead role in “Children of a Lesser God,” died earlier this week at the age of 70.  As New England and America remembers the victims and survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing and embraces the awareness of disability issues that have been so significant this past year, the passing of Ms. Frelich can refocus awareness of people who are deaf or hard of hearing, and the limitations that can be exceeded if willpower and acceptance are in large supply.  Read The Washington Post story here.

What are some of the services available for patients in New Hampshire who are deaf or hard of hearing?  In Concord, the comprehensive Northeast Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services provides services that are communicatively unrestricted and culturally sensitive, with staff members who are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL).

The New Hampshire Department of Education has the Program for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, which provides leadership and direction in serving people who are deaf and hard of hearing.  Among the many services available are the administration of the telecommunications equipment loaner program, screening of sign language interpreters and maintaining a list and fee schedule of screened and certified interpreters, and assisting in the development of legislation affecting deaf and hard of hearing people in the state as approved by the state board of education.

Lastly, HEAR in New Hampshire has certified and experienced Itinerant Teachers of the Deaf, who travel to schools throughout the state.  These teachers provide ongoing support and direct services to students with hearing loss as outlined in the students' Individual Education or 504 plans.  In addition, itinerant staff provide consultation and support to classroom teachers and families.

Ms. Frelich attended Gallaudet College (now University), which has the Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center.  It provides information and resource links for deaf/hard of hearing services in each state and has a regional center in Haverhill, Mass.

“There are so many people, deaf or otherwise abled, who are so talented but overlooked or not given a chance to even get their foot in the door.”— Marlee Matlin


Stuart J. Glassman, MD

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