Opinion

Captions for Accessibility is Imperative

Why Subtitles Would Be a Benefit for the Deaf Community

By: Roseanne Cassar

Credit: shared.com

Captions have been an underappreciated and neglected form of disability assistance in the United States.

For those who don’t know what it means to have accessibility to caption use, it is a vastly important tool for members of our community who are deaf or hard of hearing. It allows such people to watch any form of visual display with subtitles (words) to help them understand audio.

The use of captions for television, computers and mobile devices are important enough for people of the deaf community to be knowledgeable of what is going on in our society. Through these gadgets, apps and websites like YouTube, channels on TV, places like the movie theater would allow deaf and hard of hearing people to access and enjoy what the masses can naturally.

Those who do not take the initiative on fixing the problem of not being accessible for deaf citizens should be looked at as a disgrace, publicly. For instance, certain theaters that are known to have the accessibility tend to not care about their deaf customers.

It is by law that the deaf and hard of hearing communities have the caption – accessible adjustment that is needed for them as a service.

In 1990, the United States has passed a law called the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). This act requires all businesses and public services to accommodate to all individuals with disabilities who are excluded from or denied services because of the absence of auxiliary aids.

Captions are considered one type of auxiliary aid.

Since the ADA Act was passed, the use of captioning has expanded.  Some good examples include entertainment, education, information, and training materials which are captioned for the deaf and hard of hearing communities throughout the United States.

In 1990, The Television Decoder Circuitry Act was then enacted. This act requires that all televisions larger than 13 inches sold in the United States after July of 1993 must have a built – in decoder that enables viewers to watch closed captioned programming.

Along with this action came the Telecommunications Act in 1996, which directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt rules requiring closed captioning for most television programming.

Based on these laws, it is a necessity to meet the requirements to be accessible for Americans with disabilities.

When a deaf or hard of hearing customer walks in to find that they are not being accommodated, they should file a complaint towards that business to the FCC. Thus, a hefty fine will be slammed on them against their negligence for not meeting the accommodations of the ADA Act.  

It is extremely disrespectful to the deaf and hard of hearing communities to not  provide captions as a form of accommodation. It shows that these businesses do not care about their feelings, the stress and how it affects them mentally and emotionally.  

It angers a lot of the people from deaf communities when these aspects are overlooked and not taken care of. Just because the majority of American citizens are hearing does not mean that they should ignore how important it is for deaf members to have the proper accessibility.

In fact, a number of hearing people who cross paths with deaf customers have a tendency to walk away, think that if they don’t serve them, they will eventually leave. That is extremely rude to inflict on any customer, whether deaf or hearing.  

Any place of business who have employees working for them who do something like this should be fined, written up or even fired.  

Whatever happened to respecting one another regardless if that person is deaf or hard of hearing?  Are people in today’s society that rude? Should we as human beings be doing this to other people who are less fortunate just because of their disability?  

If this is the case, then, we as human beings are pathetic. Rather, we should be their voice to speak up for them, show and give support to them.

Instead, people are going ahead and to turn their backs to those who need them. Sorry, not sorry, right?

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Categories: Opinion

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