Sep 30, 2020
Video description: https://tinyurl.com/s4m42uk
National Deaf Center logo, Text, Access, Ashlea Hayes
When a film was shown without closed captions, I would ask the instructor if the video was captioned or not.
When they indicated they did not know, I would ask them to please find out, because without it, I can’t understand the film. They hadn’t even considered it.
One time, someone asked me if I could read lips, to which I responded, yes and no. In their confusion, I clarified that I could read some words on people’s lips, but it didn’t mean that I could understand everything being said. Lip reading involves a lot of guesswork. So only when I ask if there are captions does it even occur to them.
Even if a deaf character is on screen and they are using sign language, I still would ask for captions to be turned on because it forces them to rethink accessibility as a whole. It forces them in a nice way. It forces it to become the new normal.
It is the same thing with tactile. I’m DeafBlind and I adore tactile. Even if there is a situation where I may not absolutely need it, I will still ask if a tactile interpreter is available simply because it raises awareness. Campuses must know what services they need to have ready. They should start thinking about the various types of accessibility to have available– not only sign language interpreters, but DeafBlind interpreters, SSPs. What about any other possible options?
Deaf encompasses a wide spectrum. There is not one way to be deaf or DeafBlind. When I come up against lack of access, such as no closed captions, I say something. Before, I was shy. I wouldn’t say anything because I didn’t want to bother anyone. But I was missing out on what was happening.
Now, I simply state my need. I need captions turned on. If they apologize, I require that the film be stopped to see if it is captioned. If it isn’t, I tell them to type up a transcript for me and I leave. When they ask where am I going, I say, I can’t understand the movie, so I have to leave. It’s as simple as that.
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