Interpreting Services:  Through the provision of DHHC's qualified and/or certified sign language interpreters, Southwest Florida's Deaf consumers are provided with access to medical care, educational coursework, mental health counseling, government assistance and other services. For services, fill out the DHHC Interpreter Request Form. We offer workshops for local sign language interpreters so that they can improve their language abilities and interpreting skills. DHHC also offers technical assistance related to interpreting to local school systems, community agencies, government agencies, colleges and universities.  

Advocacy Services:  The DHHC works as an advocate for deaf, hard of hearing, late deafened, deaf-blind and related individuals to request and ensure the provision of appropriate accommodations. We provide general information and workshops related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.), the Individuals with Disabilities Act (I.D.E.A.)and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. For parties who may have been denied access to effective communication, we provide consultation information regarding the complaint process and other avenues of recourse. 

FTRI Telephone Equipment Loan Program:  Through Florida Telecommunications Relay, Inc. (FTRI), specialized adaptive telephone equipment is placed on long-term loan with Florida residents who are hard of hearing, deaf, deaf/blind, or speech impaired at no charge to the consumer. This equipment includes volume/tone control phones, TTYs, and increased volume/visual phone signalers. Click here to schedule an appointment for Cape Coral orNaplesLocation. 

Community Education:  The DHHC provides education about deafness to the Southwest Florida community through outreach presentations, newsletters, sign language classes, Deaf community workshops, and other projects. The DHHC offers daytime and evening classes in American Sign Language for children and adults on an ongoing basis. Our ongoing effort to create community awareness about deaf and hard of hearing people is accomplished through presentations to civic clubs, neighborhood and professional associations, businesses, churches and schools, as well as participation in health fairs.  We also have a Business Partnership Program to provide educational materials to businesses and other organizations about using the Florida Relay Service (711) to communicate with deaf individuals on the phone. The DHHC hosts workshops and support groups for deaf and hard of hearing people and their families. The Silent Gazette, our bimonthly newsletter, reaches over 650 business and individuals in our area and beyond. The DHHC conference room is available for community or private events.

Family Services:  The DHHC recognizes the need to provide a variety of support services to families with deaf or hard of hearing children. The DHHC is currently providing or developing the following family services:     

Deaf Mentoring ProgramThe DHHC offers the Deaf Mentoring Program, a deaf mentor focuses on working directly with deaf children and adults one on one to improve literacy and communication skills.  This program is tailored to accommodate deaf individual’s specific needs. This program is sponsored in part by United Way of Lee County. Click here to Request Deaf Mentor Services.

Shared Reading Project:  The DHHC offers a family mentoring and literacy program called the Shared Reading Project. This program pairs Deaf adult mentors with families that have deaf children and provides them with children’s literature and accompanying sign language videos. This also offers more opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing children to interact with role models and adults who sign fluently. 
Family Sign Language Classes:   We are currently offering sign language classes at half price for immediate family members of a deaf individual.  In the future we hope to offer sign language classes specifically geared towards parents and families. 
Currently, the DHHC is not able to directly provide early intervention services to families who have deaf or hard of hearing children. These services can be provided through Early Steps (through the Department of Health) and/or the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.   

Job Assistance:  In order to assist deaf and hard of hearing individuals who are unemployed or underemployed, we provide assistance with job searching.  We have a partnership with Goodwill of Southwest Florida to provide deaf and hard of hearing people with employment resources, internet access, and use of TTY and/or videophone (VP) for job searching contact information for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and other vocational programs. The DHHC office provides the Deaf Success video library related to finding and maintaining employment.    

Referral & Info Services:  The DHHC staff works to empower deaf or hard of hearing clients who need assistance in overcoming communication barriers and accessing community resources.  This is accomplished through information exchange and referral to appropriate service providers throughout Southwest Florida. The Deaf Service Center is considered a central source of information on Deafness, sign language, communication systems, interpreting, and adaptive equipment for deaf and hard of hearing individuals. The DHHC also provides information and advocacy related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (A.D.A.), the Individuals with Disabilities Act (I.D.E.A.) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973Type your paragraph here.


Sally J. Pimentel

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Center

1860 Boy Scout Dr. B208

Fort Myers, FL  33907

239-461-0334 voice

239-247-5821 video phone for deaf

239-461-0434 fax