The story of how CSD grew from humble roots — starting in an actual storage closet at the South Dakota School for the Deaf and growing to become the largest provider of services for the deaf — has become well known in our community. But CSD’s mission has been the same since CEO Benjamin J. Soukup founded Communication Service for the Deaf in 1975.
Since the very beginning, we have continued to be at the forefront of the evolution of access technologies and services for the Deaf and hard of hearing community. But no matter what changes, we will never forget where we began, the values we were founded upon, and our reason for being: to ensure that deaf and hard of hearing consumers have the right to full participation in the world around them.
Our community has won many battles over the years, thanks to the dedication of countless committed stakeholders and community leaders such as Benjamin Soukup, Frank Turk, Robert Davila and many others. We have celebrated important victories; such as the passing of legislation like the Americans with Disabilities Act that helped make widespread access to telecommunication relay and quality interpreting services a reality.
CSD is proud of its legacy as the oldest, largest, and most successful relay service provider in the world and its involvement in the implementation of the first nationwide video relay service. We have come so far and our world has changed so much since we first began. It is because of our deep roots in the deaf community that we understand how much this progress has meant.
Our belief is that anyone who benefits and grows from CSD services will ultimately be able to give back to community by creating a more positive world for us all.
This belief drives everything that CSD does because our passion is giving back to the Deaf and hard of hearing community. We strive to create opportunities that help the members of our community lead richer and fuller lives.
Explore our services today, to learn how you can benefit from what CSD has to offer.
1975: CSD is established. An Interpreting Referral Program is the first program offering.
1976: First equipment distribution program begins, distributing TTYs
1978: Advocacy, Information and Referral program established
1981: CSD is the first to provide 24-hour TTY Interpreter Services, based in Sioux Falls
1987: Statewide toll-free TTY relay services established
1989: Statewide Distribution Program established
1992: CSD begins expanding beyond South Dakota and services grows nationwide
1999: CSD launches first full-scale VRS pilot in South Dakota
2000: CSD is the first to launch a commercial VRS and is the exclusive provider in Texas
2001: CSD is the first to provide a national VRS service
2008: CSD establishes Coalition of Accessible Technology (C.O.A.T.) which drafts the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2008
2010: The U.S. Department of Commerce awards CSD with a $14.9M contract for nationwide broadband and equipment deployment and training, which is named Project Endeavor.
2012: CSD establishes a new Technology+Design Studio in Austin, Texas to begin development of next generation communication services.