We hear you Phil - National Deaf Awareness Week

Profile: Oaklea, 04th May, 2021

This week is National Deaf Awareness Week – and what better illustration of this than our CIC Right2Work Director (and former Chair) Phil Shea.

Phil has been hearing impaired since an early age and the Covid19 pandemic has thrown many new challenges – things like lip reading are impossible when people are wearing masks. We thought it would be a good way of illustrating how we have met this challenge by making the most of technology.

“If we allow our disability to be a barrier then we become part of that barrier….. we have to find a way to face it down.” Phil Shea

Thanks to Covid - meetings were no longer face to face so what did that mean for Phil?

The pandemic meant Board meetings all went virtual which presented a particular challenge for Phil. But when there’s a barrier -it’s all about making sure things work a bit better. So he encouraged the use of subtitles/captions on Zoom meetings. This has transformed how he interacts during the sessions and made life a lot easier -not perfect by any means but at least improved what was a challenging meeting environment.

In the old ‘face to face’ meetings Phil could at least lip read and also pick up on body language. (He would miss out on lots of more nuanced stuff). But in a large meeting this was often lost…so having the live ‘as it happens’ subtitling is a huge boon. Despite the technology advantages – Phil is keen to point out from his own perspective ‘the quality of the human voice direct’ can’t be beaten to aid his involvement and feeling part of everything -but that is best 1-2-1 and at the moment due to Covid restrictions – and keeping us all safe that’s not possible.

To show how technology can work to our favour - we ‘captured’ Phil via Skype (and on the web link below you can see how the captions worked).

You can read the full story here on our Right2Work website

Lights, Camera., CAPTIONS!

Captured…by caption: How ‘live’ subtitling on Skype (or Zoom) transforms meetings -not perfect but a much more inclusive way of doing things

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