Lisa Lee Swope, a member of the local ASL Dauphin County Facebook group came to us before the conference began the second day and told us that the captions were easier to read the night before from where she was sitting 6 rows up in the stands. At first, we thought it was because Terri had used a blue background with white captions. For me, the black background with yellow captions were easier to read, a very nice contrast.
I first contacted LifeWay and requested CART when my friend Carol Mellott told me that Beth More was coming to our area. LifeWay, the sponsor for the Beth Moore event in Hershey, provided an ASL interpreter for the small culturally Deaf community, but refused to pay for captioning for the larger population who depend on captions for access to language.
If you have no success with the sponsor of the event, then contact the venue where it is being held. Find who is in charge of "Accessibility" and talk with them. Most likely, captions won't even be mentioned on the websites because they've not yet had experience with this kind of accessibility. You will need to educate them, as well, and encourage them to add this to their list of accessible means on their websites.
People don't realize that CART is a very real need if they don't see it in action, or the faces of those of us who need it. Hearing loss and deafness are invisible disabilities, and for years many of us have hesitated to ask for captions because we been met with hostile inquisitions as to why we don't just learn to sign like the Deaf community. Our hearing families and friends don't sign. We don't belong in Deaf community because our lives are integrated with the hearing community. Many people begin to lose their hearing by middle age, and often the loss progressively gets worse. The fastest growing population of DISABLED people today are those of us living with hearing loss. It is unreasonable to expect people who have spent their whole lives in the hearing culture, and their friends and families to learn ASL at this stage in life. It IS reasonable, however, to accommodate their request for English in text captioning.
We are protected under the ADA, and we have the right to request CART captioning, not just in our schools or where we work, but anyplace that is a public venue, and especially if money is required for entry. This is why I have been advocating all these years for open captions at cinemas and churches. We need to be visible in order to bring about access to language for our deafened community and for people struggling with hearing loss.
A huge thank you to our Disability Right's Network here in Pennsylvania, especially Carol Horowitz for standing up for us and being our voice.
Drew Dillon, the ADA coordinator for Hershey Entertainment for making the event accessible for deafened people whose first language is English.
The lovely and inspiring Beth Moore.