I have been attending various mainstream events and conferences (both free and paid) for many years as well as presenting at them and am very thankful for organizers who are willing to make their events accessible via live captioning or sign language interpreting or both (depending on type of an event) based on my consultation and recommendation. Sadly, I (like many other deaf and hard of hearing people) also face frustrations with the lack of communication access at many other events whose organizers don’t understand about importance of full and equal access for us.
Since I started my formal education at the age of 7 in a school for the deaf in Russia, I wanted to publish the article today to celebrate Knowledge Day, the day when the school year traditionally starts in all schools in Russia and many other former Soviet republics annually on September 1st. It is also the First Bell for the incoming class of first graders. Around the USA, the start dates of school year vary based on regions – in some areas it already started a few weeks ago while in other areas will start next week.
This past weekend the blizzard hit the east coast of USA, so there were emergency announcements by mayors of cities and governors of states impacted by the blizzard. They are usually captioned on TV for millions of deaf and hard of hearing people. Lately, sign language interpreters have been included in emergency announcements. It may seem like an improvement in terms of communication access, but not this past weekend. It looked like sign language substituted captioning on several occasions.
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