Monthly Archives: April 2015

ACS Salutes White House Disability Employment Champion of Change Jenny Lay-Flurrie

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Jenny Lay-Flurrie is an example of a person with hearing loss who is not only able to accommodate her disability in the workplace, but is able to turn that disability into an asset. Jenny nearly walked away from a promotion when she felt that her deafness and inability to use a mobile phone would end her budding career at an internet company. Luckily, Jenny’s boss had no intention of letting so much talent walk away so easily and encouraged her to advocate for what she needed. Jenny got top-of-the-line hearing aids and worked with her boss to create a culture of awareness within the company about deafness and hearing loss. Jenny continued to take on bigger roles at that company and several other companies, before becoming a Senior Director at Microsoft,

At Microsoft. Jenny leads the Trusted Experiences Team (TExT), which focuses on accessibility, privacy, and online safety. She gives the company insight on customers with disabilities around the world, which helps create better products for consumers.The Trusted Experiences Team focuses on accessibility, privacy, and online safety. The Trusted Experiences Team is at the forefront of creating positive experiences that apply technology to make a difference in the world and the lives of individuals. Jenny is also the Chair of DisAbility@Microsoft, a network of employee resource groups (ERG’s) focused on “enabling people to be successful regardless of ability or disability.” With the help of her team and the broad community within Microsoft, Jenny leads many initiatives to empower people with disabilities both in and out of Microsoft.  To read more about Jenny and the White House Disability Employment Champion of Change Award, please click on the following links:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/02/03/advancing-employment-opportunities-people-disabilities

https://www.whitehouse.gov/champions/disability-employment-champions-of-change/jenny-lay-flurrie

ACS is dedicated to supporting people with hearing loss in the workplace. Our captioning services make meetings, conventions, trainings, webinars, conference calls, and events accessible to persons who are deaf and hard of hearing.  If we can hear it we can caption it.  For more information on how captioning might benefit you, please reach out to Business Development Manager Valerie Stafford-Mallis at Valerie@acscaptions.com.

Let ACS and PostCAP help ensure instructional media accessibility

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Did you know that it is not just professors lecturing and the videos they show in a classroom that need captions, so that persons who are deaf and hard of hearing can understand what is being said?  ANY media used by your institution on its website or in its distance learning portal must be accessible to students who are deaf and hard of hearing…regardless of whether or not students with hearing loss specifically make a request.  Think of how your institution makes its buildings accessible to persons who use wheelchairs without waiting for a specific request for wheelchair access.  In the same way,  your instructional content needs to be accessible to people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

It is sometimes erroneously believed that making media accessible is optional or at the discretion of whether or not the school believes it can afford captioning.  You might want to re-think that.  February 12, 2015, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) filed federal class action complaints against two of our nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning. The lawsuits allege these two institutions discriminate against persons who are deaf and hard of hearing because their online instructional content is either not captioned, or captioned so poorly as to not support equal access to understanding its meaning. NAD alleged this lack of captioning deprives 48 million Americans who are deaf and hard-of-hearing of the same educational opportunities as those who can hear. The suits also alleged lack of captioning violates Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title III of the ADA.

So, how in the WORLD does an educational institution caption the instructional media it has in its digital library? Most institutions lack the number of people necessary to complete such a task.  Fortunately, a post-production captioning vendor, chosen wisely, can do it for you.  The trick is to choose the right captioning agency for your institution’s needs. 

T.J. DiGrazia, Operations Manager of Alternative Communication Services (ACS) LLC and owner of its post-production captioning sister company, PostCAP LLC, presented on this  very topic last summer at the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Annual Conference in Sacramento, CA.  T.J’s presentation was so enthusiastically received that AHEAD interviewed him for an in-depth follow up discussion published in the October 2014 issue of Disability Compliance for Higher Ed.

For more detail, you may view an electronic copy of the article published in September 2014 by clicking on this link

http://www.disabilitycomplianceforhighereducation.com/m-article-detail/work-with-post-production-captioning-vendors-to-ensure-media-accessibility.aspx

T.J. suggested you educate yourself on the following before speaking with vendors:

  1. Determine your institution’s internal policies on captioning online videos and DVD’s.  Document your efforts to secure written permissions to caption copyrighted material.
  2. Educate yourself about the post-production captioning process and the key terms captioning vendors are likely to use: open captioning vs closed captioning, roll-on versus pop-up captions, captions versus subtitles, types of audio files, standards for captioning (synchrony, placement, accuracy, and completeness), time codes, and so on.
  3. Trusted sources for acquiring this background information such as Alternative Communication Services, PostCAP, PEPNet.org
  4. Understand how vendors determine cost

Once you understand the basics, T.J. said you are ready to interview vendors.  All vendors are not created equal.  These are the key questions you want your vendor to answer to your satisfaction:

  1. Determine the vendor’s per-minute pricing as well as any minimum lengths imposed with that pricing
  2. Ask what you will receive…will it be the finished product (captioned video) or just a captioning file you will then have to combine with the video on your end
  3. Find out how the media files will be exchanged between you and your captioning vendor
  4. See if there are any ways you can cut costs without sacrificing communication access
  5. Request the vendor to demonstrate by captioning a five-minute video for free.  Walk away if they balk.

Alternative Communication Services and its sister company PostCAP LLC have been helping entities with their digital media for a long time. They will be happy to answer any questions you might have. For more information, you may contact T.J. DiGrazia at info@postcapllc.com

 Disability Compliance for Higher Education article cited in this blog:

(2014), Using post-production captioning vendor can help you ensure media accessibility. Disability Comp. Higher Ed., 20: 1, 4-5. doi: 10.1002/dhe.20082