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National Association of the Deaf

The NAD's mission is to preserve, protect, and promote the civil, human, and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing people.

National Association of the Deaf (NAD)

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) was established in 1880 by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. These beliefs remain true to this day, with American Sign Language as a core value. The NAD ensures that the needs and concerns of the nation's deaf and hard of hearing community are well represented on the national level, including through coalitions and collaborative relationships.

Mission and vision: 

The mission of the NAD is to preserve, protect, and promote the civil, human and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America. The vision of the NAD is that the language, culture, and heritage of deaf and hard of hearing Americans will be acknowledged and respected in the pursuit of life, liberty, and equality.        

Major programs:   

  • Public Policy and Advocacy - For more than 136 years, the NAD has engaged in public policy advocacy to obtain and maintain the rights of deaf and hard of hearing people. Beginning in 1976, the NAD began its Law and Advocacy Center to provide legal services that protected and advanced the rights of deaf and hard of hearing people nationwide in addition to continuing its far-reaching policy efforts. The advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering the breadth of a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of captioning, early intervention, education, employment, emergency preparedness, health care, mental health, rehabilitation, security, technology, telecommunications, transportation, and more. The NAD has staff attorneys and has also worked with attorneys who receive outside fellowship support to be part of our Law and Advocacy Center. In addition, the NAD advances international human rights through its affiliate membership on behalf of the USA and provision of support to the World Federation of the Deaf.    
  • Youth Leadership - Since 1969, the NAD's Youth Programs have trained deaf and hard of hearing students and young adults in the areas of citizenship, scholarship, and leadership for eventual involvement in advocacy at the local, state, and national levels. Programs include the annual Youth Leadership Camp sessions, biennial College Bowl competitions, the biennial Youth Ambassador Program, and the Junior NAD chapter network in high schools nationwide with Biennial National Junior NAD Conferences.       
  • Information and Referral - The NAD is a leading national resource for public information and referral on a wide variety of topics, responding to thousands of inquiries each month. The NAD maintains a resourceful website and provides advocacy and legislative training as well as specialized training at three different biennial conferences: the NAD Conferences, Jr. NAD Conferences, and NAD Leadership Training Conferences.      
  • Leadership & Training - The NAD provides advocacy education and training, legislative training, and specialized training at biennial national conferences, biennial youth leadership conferences, and annual leadership training conferences. Specialized training, expert consultation, and technical assistance is also provided to countless individuals and groups across the nation on the civil, human, and linguistic rights and needs of deaf and hard of hearing children and adults.        
  • Captioning - The NAD also administers the federal Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) through funding support from the U.S. Department of Education, which distributes open-captioned and described media on a free-loan basis to K-12 schools across the nation.         

Donations to support the efforts of the NAD staff, volunteers and interns are greatly appreciated.    

For more information, please visit www.nad.org.