Deaf people can often struggle in society because of the lack of available resources. As a deaf person, I believe that we need to make some changes in our society in order to fully engage more people within our community. For example, captioning should be provided on all videos, including videos on FaceTime, Instagram, webinars, and lectures. Deaf people can often struggle in society because of the lack of available resources. As a deaf person, I believe that we need to make some changes in our society in order to fully engage more people within our community. For example, captioning should be provided on all videos, including videos on FaceTime, Instagram, webinars, and lectures. Providing captions on all videos can improve average watch time as “people are more likely to watch your video…[when] hav[ing] the option to turn captions on" (source). When videos do not provide captions, watch time can decrease as people lose interest or don’t watch the full video. English language learners and many others benefit from captions as well. These examples demonstrate the value of captions for everybody who wants to enjoy videos online. In the following paragraphs I share some of my personal recommendations to increase the engagement of deaf people.
Learning sign language in elementary school should become a nationwide requirement and not just in certain schools. Students at Dayton Consolidated Elementary in Maine “started learn[ing] sign language …[where] about a third of the kids now know enough [sign language] to navigate a kindergarten conversation” (source). The students didn’t do it for a specific curriculum but instead to make a classmate feel more welcome. These kindergarteners set a good example of how even young children can make a difference by learning sign language to make the classroom more diverse and inclusive for any type of disability. If even basic sign language was taught at a young age, more people would be able to share these communication skills widely and make a difference.
Personally, captioning really helps me with videos, especially in online meetings when people are talking over each other, and I often can’t read their lips. Without captions, I can be completely lost. If there aren’t any captions available, I will reach out to whoever created the video or coordinated a meeting.
Furthermore, we could create a more inclusive country if sign language was taught in elementary schools. An adult fluent in sign language could teach every grade as a weekly or monthly opportunity. If you want to promote this, reach out to school and district directors to make a specific recommendation and why it should be implemented.