News from Northwest ADA Center – Idaho

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused interruptions and barriers to service delivery for people with disabilities all around the state. When CIL’s offices closed, it affected their ability to offer their usual in-person services, including skills-based trainings and classes.

Thankfully, within a few weeks of discussions, collaboration, and problem solving the were able adapt their program’s delivery under the new conditions.

The first was switching our in-person workshops and classes to online. These need to be made accessible by using real-time closed captioning and ASL interpreters where needed.  An alternative was recording the class, adding the accessibility features and then releasing it to YouTube or other social media platform.

Since most CIL’s were already venturing into video, it came naturally to add captioning and other features to the video.  YouTubes automated closed captioning is not always accurate but it does offer the ability to go back in and correct and modify them. 

For meeting with consumers, Zoom or FaceTime have been invaluable. Third party ASL services like Purple can make these accessible for the deaf and hard of hearing. And the chat feature offers an opportunity for clarification in real time.

One of the problems that arose when CIL’s switched to online services is the availability of high speed internet in rural areas. And many consumers didn’t have devices to access these services. So CIL’s used Cares Act Funding to provide “hot spots” where possible and digital devices. This opened up a whole new world for most who were isolating. Social connections and access to the new tele-health were among them.

Another bonus, is the ability to attend a workshop or class of your choice without having to be near it. That affords connections across the state and beyond. And since many costs association with conferences being in person are gone, these can be free or affordable to many more people. 

Here’s a quick help worksheet on applying closed captioning to Zoom, GoTo Meeting and Skype, all commonly used platforms for virtual connecting.

What an amazing time we live in to switch to these accessible alternatives in such a short amount of time. I believe some of these are here to stay.

For more information about the ADA contact



For more information about the ADA contact:

Dana Gover, MPA, and ACTCP Certification, ADA Training and Technical Assistance Coordinator 

For more information about ADA Technical Assistance visit the NW ADA Center Idaho website:
Phone: Voice and Text 208-841-9422
Idaho Relay Service: 7