Have you seen videos online that had no captioning? Have you seen videos with closed captioning that didn’t make sense? Was it on your local news’ station, a sports station, or somewhere else? Perhaps this is a common occurrence for you.
The Hearing Loss Association of America, or HLAA, together with the National Association of the Deaf, Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Inc, and Communication Service for the Deaf, has created a survey to learn more about captioning difficulty with online video content.
According to a recent email from HLAA, “Your responses will help us identify gaps in captioning coverage and identify ways to close those gaps.”
However, the teacher “noticed Zejd sitting all by himself, unable to communicate with any of his school mates,” according to the report.
“Zejd came to our class. He is a beautiful and smart child. Zejd did not know sign language. We did not know sign language. Neither the children nor me. We had to do something,” Ljumanovic said in a video.
Ljumanovic took the suggestion of a parent and decided to teach the whole class sign language so they could speak with their peer, according to the report. They hired Anisa Setkic-Sendic to teach them sign language.
The children are responding well to learning sign language and it is becoming more popular at the school. “I like this language and I also think it will be useful when I grow up,” said Anesa Susic, one of his classmates.
“I like to learn Zejd’s language so I can talk to him and to other deaf people,” said Tarik Sijaric, another classmate, in the report.
Today is National 2-1-1 Day, and the perfect time to spread the word about the difference the service can make in someone’s life.
Do you know someone who is overwhelmed with disability needs, financial problems, transportation difficulties, or is trying to get support for something and they can’t? 2-1-1 may be of help.
What is 2-1-1? It’s a number you dial on the phone to get help with information and resources that government agencies or nonprofits might be able to assist you with receiving.
According to the national United Way website, 2-1-1 is available anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, seven days a week–and all calls are private and confidential.
2-1-1 assistance is provided in all languages. The website has an option in the upper right corner to select the language needed.
“Whether in times of natural disaster or personal crisis, 2-1-1 is committed to being the first, most essential resource to anyone who needs help,” according to the organization’s website.
According to the United Way of Houston’s website, 2-1-1 is a free service that can provide “help finding child care, food stamps, care for an aging parent or a haven from domestic violence, 2-1-1 is the number to call when you don’t know who to call.”
The helpline has specialists who can provide information and resources. Last year, according to the website, 2-1-1 Texas/United Way HELPLINE answered 957,600 calls for help with “basic needs, like food, utilities and health care … followed by rent assistance and help finding shelter.”
Here is the link to email 2-1-1 for the Greater Houston area or learn more, or you can reach them via phone by dialing 2-1-1.
If you live in other areas, you can access the national website to locate one of the 1,800 United Ways near you providing 2-1-1, or you can dial 2-1-1 to access your area’s network.
Some United Ways provide apps for their area as well, including Austin, according to a report in the The Street.
A former NFL quarterback will share one of the country’s greatest Valentine’s Day gifts with 30,000 teens with special needs.
Tim Tebow, former quarterback for the Denver Broncos and a Heisman Trophy winner, started an international event, Night to Shine Prom.
The events provide proms for teens with disabilities to celebrate in churches across 48 states in America. The events will take place during the evening of Friday, Feb. 12.
According to a report in Disability Scoop, Tebow said, “When I was 15 years old, I began to realize the importance of fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves. As a foundation, we are so passionate about people with special needs, and this event is a great time to tell them how much they are loved by God and by all of us.”
Chapelwood United Methodist Church will host Night to Shine 2016 for the Houston area on Friday, Feb. 12 from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. Registration ends Feb. 12. Click here to learn more.
According to the foundation’s website, Tebow started the foundation in 2010 with a mission to “with a mission to bring Faith, Hope and Love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need.”
Tebow’s personal website says, “True success is not measured in physical possessions, but in the amount of lives that you change.”
You can learn more about joining Team Tebow, which the foundation started in 2012, providing an opportunity for team members to “serve others, to not wait, but to make a difference right away.“
Target is investing in customers needing accessible shopping carts to assist families who want to shop and not have to push a wheelchair and shopping cart together, according to a report in Upworthy.
Target’s new shopping cart is called Caroline’s Cart, and is named after Drew Ann Long’s daughter, Caroline, who has special needs. According to the report, Long developed the cart and marketed it, and Target began testing it in its stores because of an employee who had a family member with special needs.
According to the report, one parent of a child with special needs, Adam Standiford, posted on the Target Facebook page: “Dear Target, I can’t express enough how happy my wife was to see this at our local Target today. We have a 6 year old handicap girl who either doesn’t fit in carts anymore or gets weird looks to as why she’s sitting in the basket and can’t walk like a normal child. This simple cart literally will change how we can shop, not having to worry as to how we are going to get her into a store. … I will forever be Target loyal! Sincerely, Every parent of a special needs kid.”
According to the Target website, “Beginning March 19, the vast majority of our stores (with the exception of a handful of our smallest stores where we don’t have full-size carts) will have at least one Caroline’s Cart, and many will have more, depending on their guests’ needs.”
According to the Upworthy report, “It may look like a pretty ordinary cart … but for the families who will use it, it’s extraordinary.”
The association has made an agreement with Gogo LLC. According to the release, ” The National Association of the Deaf (NAD), a non-profit civil rights organization of, by, and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals, and Gogo LLC, the global leader in providing broadband connectivity solutions and wireless entertainment to the aviation industry, have reached a historic agreement for Gogo to make closed captioning available for 100 percent of programming content sourced by Gogo and streamed through its on-demand in-flight entertainment service, Gogo Vision.”
Customers will be able to display closed captions for Gogo content. The company is also replacing its current content with captioned entertainment films, to be completed by June 30, 2017, according to the release.
“This is a monumental step in making in-flight entertainment accessible to the 48 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States alone,” said Howard Rosenblum, CEO of the NAD, of the agreement.
Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo’s chief commercial officer said, “Watching movies on a passenger’s own device has become a very popular product for Gogo and we are excited to provide access to this product to the deaf and hard of hearing.”
In recent proposed settlements in Wisconsin and Ohio, the U.S. Department of Justice targets disability discrimination against tenants by landlords.
The Fair Housing Act establishes that housing should be accessible to people of all abilities.
According to a press release from the Department of Justice, a Wisconsin landlord and manager allegedly “discriminated against two residents of Applewood Apartments, a mother and daughter living together, and denied them rights by refusing to renew the residents’ lease because of their disabilities; demanding that they develop a ‘plan’ to deal with the daughter’s purported disability-related behavior (she is a person with Down Syndrome); and pressuring them to move.”
Discrimination, according to the press release, allegedly included not taking “prompt action to correct and end disability-related harassment by other tenants,” such as when other tenants made called the daughter “mentally retarded,” and stated “You don’t belong here. . . you belong in an institution,” as well as tenants interfering with their daily life on the premises.
According to the press release, terms of the settlement with the landlord are subject to U.S. District Court approval, and would include:
paying the complainants $40,000 in damages;
maintaining non-discrimination policies;
advertising themselves as equal opportunity housing provider; and
attending fair housing training.
Another case involves student housing at Kent State University in Ohio, according to a Department of Justice press release.
According to the release, the lawsuit alleges that Kent State University (KSU) “maintained a policy of not allowing students with psychological disabilities to keep emotional support animals in university-operated student housing.”
A settlement agreement between the department and university must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. If approved, KSU will:
pay $100,000 to two former students who allegedly were “denied a reasonable accommodation to keep an emotional support dog in their university-operated apartment;”
pay $30,000 to the fair housing organization that advocated on behalf of the students;
pay $15,000 to the United States; and
adopt a housing policy that allows people with psychological disabilities to “keep animals with them in university housing when such animals provide necessary therapeutic benefits to such students and allowing the animal would not fundamentally alter the nature of the housing.”
The university has also agreed to accommodate similar requests in the future, according to the release.
“This settlement shows the department’s continued and strong commitment to ensuring that students in university housing are afforded the protections of the Fair Housing Act,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division, said in the release.
The settlement demonstrates that on-campus housing has to comply with the Fair Housing Act like other housing providers.
Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin will perform the national anthem with Lady Gaga at the 50th Super Bowl, according to a report in the Washington Post.
Lady Gaga will sing “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Super Bowl game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos, according to the report. Matlin will perform in American Sign Language, or ASL.
According to Matlin’s official website, the actress, author, and advocate has “received worldwide critical acclaim for her film debut in Paramount Pictures’ Children of a Lesser God, for which she received the Academy Award for Best Actress … In addition to the Oscar, Marlee received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Drama.”
On her website, Matlin says, “The opportunity to communicate in sign language, one of the most beautiful languages in the world, is an advantage that deaf people enjoy. It’s a language that combines several elements at once with a simple hand movement and facial expression: meaning, affect, time and duration. It’s just so beautiful that printed or spoken words can’t begin to describe it.”
When people with disabilities encounter disability discrimination, they may think the only option is to sue. Or, they may let the issue go, thinking hiring a lawyer may be too expensive or time consuming.
Litigation in court costs money, and matters are resolved over a period of time–sometimes years. That’s too long to wait for a pressing need.
Other options are available to get access and inclusion.
When agencies, organizations, and businesses know the laws and don’t want to make accommodations or include people with disabilities, there are other remedies.
According to the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities’ (CTD) Messenger e-Newsletter, a lawsuit should come after other efforts have been made to see if a solution can be reached.
The CTD newsletter suggests three actions before seeking a lawyer:
Talk to the business directly CTD recommends asking for the manager or the property manager. A CTD example shows that calling attention to access for one disability can benefit others: “CTD was approached by a group of taxi drivers who were concerned that the drop-off area [for Austin City Limits] was far from the entrance gates and required people with mobility impairments to traverse a ditch. CTD staff met with Festival organizers … By the next year, vehicles transporting people with disabilities were allowed to pull right up to the entrance gate. Plus, the Festival added accommodations such as an accessibility station and free rental wheelchairs, and ASL interpreters became permanent.”
Put it in writing An example where this worked: “Austin resident Julie Maloukis sent Maudie’s Tex Mex written notice about their inaccessible parking. Several weeks later, Maudie’s contacted Julie, thanking her for letting them know about the situation and to tell her the parking spaces were fixed.”
File a complaint with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, “which might be able to require a business to comply with ADA regulations.” What does the Department of Licensing and Regulation do? According to the agency’s website, they “ensure public safety and customer protection, and provide a fair and efficient licensing and regulatory environment at the lowest possible cost.” The department has influence over businesses, particularly if the business requires a license. Complaints can be filed against businesses that are unlicensed too.
Another way to educate others is to ask to schedule a demonstration of the lack of access or inclusion. When staff at businesses learn how the problem affects others, they are more willing to help.
For example, if a ramp is too steep at the entrance to business, offer to demonstrate for them why. Have someone to spot the wheelchair as you attempt to travel up or down the ramp, and keep safe.
If you need communication access, demonstrate how the experience would be without sound or words. For example, if you need a video captioned, have them watch the video with you without any sound. Have them read a paper with their eyes closed or in the dark if you are requesting Braille and they don’t understand why.
Be creative with teaching others to understand. Misunderstandings lead to discrimination continuing. Once everyone is on the same page, it’s easier to find a reasonable solution.
In many cases, these steps will work with solving discrimination situations.
If not, another option before filing a lawsuit is to ask a lawyer to draft a letter discussing their obligations under the law, so that they are aware of the seriousness of the situation.
Whether the person chooses to take a matter to court is his or her right. Each person needs to evaluate how severe the situation is, and if a possible solution can be reached without deciding to sue.
Disability advocates are working to ensure that people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing can participate in the selection of presidential candidates for their political parties during the Iowa caucuses.
What’s a caucus?
According to LifeHacker, “Before a presidential candidate can be on the ballot for the general election, they have to win the approval and backing of their political party. Think of the caucuses and primaries as the NFL playoffs—with candidates dropping out after each round of voting—and the general election this fall is like the Super Bowl where (usually) two candidates go head to head…”
According to a report from RespectAbility, five people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing have requested ASL and CART, or Communication Access Real-time Translation, to participate in the Iowa caucuses, when “Iowans will publicly pledge their support to one of the Democratic or Republican candidates and by the end of the evening, each county will have a winner.”
Because the caucuses selecting political party candidates aren’t government run, but are run by the state’s political parties, they don’t follow traditional election procedures to ensure voting access. Some caucuses are held in churches or individuals’ homes, complicating accessibility, according to the report.
Jane Hudson of Disability Rights Iowa, has helped empower Iowans of all abilities to participate in candidate selection through the caucuses, according to the report. Hudson has had conversations with the Democratic and Republican parties and helped secure ASL and CART for the five people requesting it.
The nonprofit organization is “part of a national network of protection and advocacy systems established in the 1970s by the U.S. Congress to respond to repeated abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities in large institutions.”
According to RespectAbility report, “While there was discussion on who should pay for this [ASL and CART], the Iowa Democratic and Republican parties are footing the bill.”
The Iowa caucus will occur on Monday, Feb. 1, starting at 7 p.m. Central Time and lasting two or three hours. Results will be posted here.