Sep 13, 2019
Video Description: https://tinyurl.com/y395n3ag
Outside, a young woman sits in a grey wicker chair with a large rainbow-hued pillow. She has dark wavy hair and wears a denim jacket over a black shirt.
TEXT: Rachel’s Story – speech-to-text services
An aqua border frames Rachel and in the bottom right-hand corner, the NDC logo.
A three-tiered water feature bubbles with water behind Rachel and two troughs have colourful pink and lilac flowers planted in them. Rachel uses sign language.
I was mainstreamed throughout my primary education and through high school. I went to a special public high school that focuses on the arts. I majored in dance. It was a small high school, which was a perfect fit for me as a deaf person. I grew up oral, meaning I was trained in speech and listening. So I went throughout my primary education with note takers, but not interpreters, because I didn’t know sign language. I didn’t learn ASL until I was 14 and attended a deaf camp. At that time, I didn’t even think I could have interpreters in the classroom. Because of that, I grew accustomed to simply having a note taker.
It’s interesting, because when I was 16, I went to a conference, I don’t remember which one, and that was the first time I saw real time transcription, captioning up on the screen. I was shocked. It was 100% accessible! I never realized how much I was missing. I think I was a junior in high school at the time and still relying on note takers, so I asked my parents if I could have captions in my classroom. They said yes, of course; and they were in full support. That was the first time I spoke up for myself and made my needs known. Before, I didn’t know my options but when I saw the captions, I knew that was exactly what I needed.
Fortunately, I knew a woman, a friend who was a court stenographer, and she expressed interest in wanting to transcribe in my classroom. We were excited, discussed the logistics, and came to an agreement. The problem is we had to fight the school. I had to justify how captions gave me 100% access and how I had been missing so much without it.
The school resisted but my family fought; dad even threatened to sue the school. After a long battle, I finally got transcription my senior year of high school. That year, I experienced full access! In college, I asked for both an interpreter and transcription, and was granted both. It was fantastic.
That helped set me on the right path for my journey through accommodations. That high school experience helped me better understand my needs.
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