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Dancers with hearing impairments can 'keep time' with or without music

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Design and Art Fields FAQ

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Q. FIELD-BASED ASSIGNMENTS: Should I waive field-based art assignments for students with disabilities?

A. Do not waive your essential course requirements for students with disabilities. However, they need equal access to your course and assignments. Make reasonable accommodations based on the students' needs and the nature of the course requirements.

Q. EQUIPMENT ADAPTATIONS: Do I have to provide special equipment for a student who cannot access studio equipment?

A. If the department is supplying equipment to other students, the instructor should attempt to make the equipment accessible to students with disabilities. Arrangements will need to be made to provide accessible equipment or other appropriate accommodations. Often, many simple and low cost adaptations can be made to commercial equipment to make it more accessible for individuals with disabilities. Work with the student and disabled student services office to come up with access solutions. If the equipment is not provided as part of the course, it is the student's responsibility to obtain the appropriate materials, equipment, and supplies.

Q. HEARING IMPAIRMENTS: What are some accommodations for students with hearing impairments attending performing arts productions?

A. Accommodations for individuals with hearing impairments who are attending performing arts events include preferential seating near the front of the performance, assistive listening devices, sign language interpreters, and supplementary printed materials. It is helpful to make scripts available in advance to people who are deaf. Some performing arts centers have small lights in selected seats so that scripts can be followed throughout the performance.

Q. VISUAL IMPAIRMENTS: How can individuals with visual impairments access art work?

A. Some of the ways people with visual impairments access art work include:

  • Large print and Braille materials.
  • Tactile drawings or small-scale models that provide reproductions of graphic materials such as maps, diagrams, charts, models, exhibit layouts, and stage sets.
  • Audiotapes.
  • Readers.
  • Radio reading services that provide broadcasts of exhibitions, performances, lectures, and readings.
  • Audio description which provides a narration of images.

Q. AUDIO DESCRIPTION: What is audio description?

A. Audio description has been referred to as the "art of talking pictorial." It describes visual or theatrical images in words and is useful to audience members who are blind. A trained narrator recreates the colors, settings, costumes, physical characteristics, and body language of live performances or visual arts. During performances, for example, audio description is essentially "broadcast" to the user via an audio transmitter and receiver in between dialogue and music. The narration is carefully designed to complement and not interrupt the audio portion of the performance.

Q. VIDEOS: I have several videotapes and films that I use in my media arts class. How can I make sure students with hearing impairments are able to access them?

A. Video or film information can be accessed by those who cannot hear the audio in three ways: 1) captioning, 2) sign language interpreting, or 3) scripting/transcribing. Closed captioning requires the use of a decoder to view the captioning. This decoder is standard on newer television sets. Open captioning displays the text automatically during each viewing and does not require special equipment. Ask the publisher for captioned versions of videotapes you use in class. If a captioned version of a videotape is not available, a sign language interpreter can translate verbal information from the video for a student who knows sign language. Scripting/transcription can be provided as a last resort. Ask the videotape publisher for a transcript of the tape or produce one yourself. Be sure the student has time to read the transcript before the videotape is shown since she cannot read the script and access visual content at the same time.

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