For deaf students, employees and innovators in large gatherings or training environments, captioning is a lifeline. That’s the only way to put it. This point was clear to me after a recent conference at which eight hours of lipreading was required, because the organisers did not have a budget for captioning.
On the bus home, I fell asleep three times in 40 minutes, and banged my head off the window each time. A good sleep was had the previous night. Would this narcolepsy have happened if the conference was captioned?
Deaf people spend up to 50% of their daily energy on communication, while hearing people use just 5% (*). For severely deaf people, ‘listening’ is visual, rather than aural, with daily energy use increasing proportionately.
Many deaf people speak and lipread, so networking in large gatherings is viable. Once a panel, peer or floor discussion begins however, access to verbal discourse is needed, as meaning rapidly gets lost to a lip-reader.
How seminar captioning benefits a TCD student:
I can’t believe the difference it makesto my life. I began this degree course four years ago, but had to drop out because I couldn’t participate in my PBL (peer-based learning) lectures.
Captioning gives this student access to her [medical] studies. Once she graduates, her taxes will help fund state coffers, while she breaks ground.
Not all ‘powers’ are amenable to captioning, however. The Sound Advice team is constantly surprised to meet resistance when explaining captioning to event organisers.
At a recent education event, my attendance was limited to the exhibition area, because the captioners were not permitted to ‘work’ the seminars (which discussed new teaching practices and classroom technologies).
Captioning gives access to group discussions:
For the first time in my life, I [can] follow a group discussion word-for-word and contribute without risking a non sequitur. For lip-readers, the law of multiples applies: the more speakers in a group, the harder a discussion topic is to follow [Caroline, IDK].
Good lipreaders “pick up” 40% to 70% of discourse in a group, maybe more when one-on-one. That missing 60% to 30% can make a huge difference. Captioners are not needed 100% of the time, but a framework is needed for their operation in Ireland, as referenced in this tweet (October, 2010).
* Statisticsource: Hørelsen, March 2010
- Disability Law News Journal: Deaf Children and Inclusive Education
- Australia’s Deaf Kids Get Captions In Classrooms
- Real-Time Captioning At School Via Mobile Phone
- Video: how captioning benefits a deaf student in Albany
- Educational Supports Unlock Students’ Potential
- CART: Upskills for the job, and confidence for the future