Take Survey to Improve Online Video Captions

Captions show road worker talking about ice and dice.
Sometimes, online videos have captions that don’t make sense, or none at all. photo credit: 2013_12_040009 – you may dice? via photopin

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.”

Here is a link to the survey , which will be open until March 4.




Class Learns Sign Language for Classmate

When a teacher accepted a child with hearing loss into her class, she didn’t know how to communicate with him, and he didn’t know sign language.

The teacher and parents of children in his class committed to contracting  a sign language teacher at their cost, since the school couldn’t pay for it.

A series of pictures of a woman using sign language
Examples of signs. Using sign language helps people with hearing loss or deafness to learn more about Deaf culture. photo credit: See Hear via photopin (license)

According to a report in Oddity Central, when six-year-old Zejd Coralic’s mother went to enroll him in school in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzogovina, his teacher, Sanela Ljumanovic, accepted.

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.

Two girls use sign language.
Classmates around the ages of these girls studied sign language to communicate with their peer. photo credit: Learning sign language via photopin (license)

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.

Integrating children into schools in Bosnia was made law in 2003, according to a video about the student’s story. “But there isn’t enough money for the programs.”

Share the Love with Needed Resources

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.

One red heart surrounded by black and white hearts
Nothing quite shows love like giving a person the tools to navigate difficult times in their lives. photo credit: Lonely heart: iPhone 3GS & lots of apps via photopin (license)

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.

Quarterback Shares Valentine with 30,000 Teens with Disabilities

A former NFL quarterback will share one of the country’s greatest Valentine’s Day gifts with 30,000 teens with special needs.

A lego man and lego woman share a lego heart with hearts in the background.
Proms are magical events for teens. photo credit: Valentine’s Day via photopin (license)

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.

Tim Tebow in quarterback uniform, number 15 for the Denver Broncos on the playing field.
Tim Tebow playing for the Denver Broncos, where he was traded for Peyton Manning. photo credit: Nicely Done via photopin (license)

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.”

With thanks to the Tim Tebow Foundation, 30,00 teens with special needs will make memories. photo credit: Hippie Christmas via photopin (license)
With thanks to the Tim Tebow Foundation, 30,00 teens with special needs will make memories. photo credit: Hippie Christmas via photopin (license)

The event will have:

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 Makes Move for Mobility

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.

Line of red Target shopping carts
With Caroline’s Carts in Target stores, parents can push their family members in the carts without having to have a separate wheelchair. photo credit: Shopping Carts via photopin (license)

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.”

Airlines to Have Captioned Movies

Many airlines will begin showing in-flight movies with captions, according to a press release from the National Association of the Deaf.

Picture of US Airways jet on airport runway
US Airways is one of several airlines that will now have captioned films for customers, thanks to a NAD and Gogo LLC agreement. photo credit: CLT 4-5-09 N183UW via photopin (license)

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.

Woman's face and text below reads, Does your life have meaning?
In-flight films will have a lot more meaning for travelers who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. photo credit: via photopin (license)

“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.”

According to Gogo Inflight Internet, the following airlines currently partner with Gogo:

  • American Airlines,
  • Delta Air Lines,
  • United Airlines,
  • US Airways,
  • Virgin America,
  • Alaska Airlines,
  • Aeromexico,
  • Air Canada,
  • AirTran Airways,
  • Japan Airlines,
  • Vietnam Airlines,
  • and Virgin Atlantic.

Missing from the list are Southwest Airlines and JetBlue, though AirTran merged with Southwest in 2010. Continental Airlines ceased operation in 2012 and merged with United Airlines, which is a Gogo LLC partner.

Department of Justice Addresses Disability Discrimination in Housing

In recent proposed settlements in Wisconsin and Ohio, the U.S. Department of Justice targets disability discrimination against tenants by landlords.

Courtroom gavel on top of document.
The Fair Housing Act is one of many laws protecting people of all abilities. photo credit: My Trusty Gavel via photopin (license)

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.

Statue of woman holding scales representing weighing the sides of justice.
The U.S. Department of Justice ensures that Americans are treated fairly under the law. photo credit: Scales of Justice – Frankfurt Version via photopin (license)

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.”

Picture of nine service animals with service animal vests.
Whether they are for physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities, the right to a service dog is in most cases guaranteed under the law. photo credit: Service Dogs of Hawaii Fi-Do, Training Session, Working Dogs, Job, Group Photo via photopin (license)

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.

Individuals who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov , or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 or through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Affairs’ website .