Skip Directly to the MenuSkip Directly to the Content
Board of Commissioners

Help us keep Nebraska’s consumer-driven separate agency for the blind vibrant! Come to our meetings and/or email us!
Contact Us
4600 Valley Road, Suite 100
Lincoln, NE 68510-4844

Toll Free: 877.809.2419
Local: 402.471.2891
Fax: 402.471.3009
Find An Office Near You

Pearl Van Zandt, Ph.D
Executive Director

Deaf-Blindness Project - Summary


Nebraska Individuals with Deaf-Blindness Project


Who is considered “Deaf-Blind?”


An “individual who is deaf-blind” means any individual having auditory and visual impairments, the combination of which cause extreme difficulty in attaining independence in daily life activities, achieving psychosocial adjustment, or obtaining vocational objectives.


How can I contact and use the Nebraska Relay Service (NRS)?


The Nebraska Relay Service allows deaf and hard of hearing people who use a TTY to communicate with hearing telephone users. The NRS communication assistant (CA) or operator relays the information between the two parties. The CA will say what the TTY caller types and types what the hearing caller says. All states now offer statewide telephone relay services. In Nebraska, TTY callers may dial 1-800-833-7352 (TTY) or hearing callers may dial 1-800-833-0920 (VOICE).


VCO - Voice Carry Over.


When making a NRS call a person with a hearing loss and understandable speech may request VCO, allowing him/her to speak directly to the hearing caller. The person with a hearing loss then reads the hearing person’s responses on his/her TTY.


HCO - Hearing Carry Over.


When making a NRS call, a speech-disabled person who can listen may request HCO, allowing him/her to listen directly to the hearing caller. The speech disabled person answers by typing his/her response.


How can I go about getting an Interpreter?

What do I need to be aware of when getting an interpreter?

What is the going rate for interpreters pay?


The Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (NCDHH) offers a statewide sign language interpreter referral service. The Commission maintains a list of qualified sign language interpreters. They are responsible for taking interpreter requests and referring interpreting assignments to private practice interpreters. They are also available to answer questions you may have related to interpreting services.

Interpreters in private practice settle their own fees, hours, and schedules. NCDHH works closely with area interpreters to become familiar with their fee scale, but they do not determine the fees that they charge. NCDHH recommends contacting the interpreter who accepted the assignment to discuss fees prior to the assignment.

Ethics as set forth by the R.I.D. Code of Ethics should always be at the forefront of interpreters’ minds. (See Cheryl for a copy of the R.I.D. Code of

NCDHH has a manual titled “Handbook about Interpreting Services for Consumers, Agencies and Interpreters”. To request a copy of the handbook, or to request assistance in finding an interpreter, contact the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at:

Lincoln Office Omaha Office
4600 Valley Road Ste. 420 1313 Farnam On The Mall
Lincoln, NE. 68510 Omaha, NE. 68102-1836
(402) 471-3593 (402) 595-3991
Outside Lincoln/Omaha area: 1-800-545-6244

Lincoln E-mail
Omaha E-mail
North Platte

What are some modes of communicating with individuals who are Deaf-Blind?


  1. One-on-one communication (remember signing space – close to your face, perhaps back up).
  2. Tracking- bringing hands into my signing space.
  3. Tactile communication (two different ways: one hand and two handed).
  4. Print on palm or POP.
  5. Finger spelling- Different methods (Bird method- looks like birds pecking at seeds: Side method or back method- hand over hand).
  6. Braille.
  7. Cell markers on the palm of the hand in Braille. (Some people prefer this).
  8. Tellatouch- used like a TTY with Braille output.
  9. Morse Code.
  10. Hearing aids or FM Systems.
  11. Note taking.
  12. TTY or computer.
  13. Tadoma method- hand on the throat and on the lips to understand speech.
  14. Lip reading.


Basic Manners and Etiquette


  • Appearance/Attire-black, navy, hunter green, (if you are light skinned). White or cream colored. (If you are dark skinned) IMPORTANT: always ask the Deaf-Blind person what colors they are able to see best, as some people prefer that everyone wear a certain color.
  • Nails- do not wear red nail polish, large rings. Avoid heavy scents (perfume, hand soaps). Some Deaf-Blind individuals may ask you to wear a dark shade of lipstick to make it easier for them to lip-read you. Identify yourself by name before you start to sign or speak. Identify others in the room and describe the layout of room.
Return to Deaf-Blindness Project

Nebraska Center for the Blind has been approved by the National Blindness Professional Certification Board (NBPCB). This approval is granted only to those Centers that meet strict standards for high quality services, uphold a positive philosophy of blindness and high expectations, adhere to Structured Discovery instructional methodology, and are dedicated to assuring genuine Informed Choice for all consumers. The Nebraska Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired adheres to these standards of quality assurance in every area of its service delivery.