"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive." Anaïs Nin

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Why Churches and Synagogues Need to Caption

Over 20%  of new hearing aids are being purchased for our returning veterans who have lost their hearing while serving our country. While hearing aids help, they aren't a cure, nor are they perfect. Even with hearing aids, many words and phrases are difficult to decipher. When this happens, isolation happens. Social situations are avoided all together, and for many, this means they no longer have access to a community that was once available to them when they could previously hear. Sadly, the most important communities that are no longer attended are the spiritual communities. This can be easily solved. 

While many churches and synagogues are thoughtful enough to offer ASL interpreters for the deaf, they overlook having Captions for the largest growing group of Disabled Americans - people with hearing loss. Many don't know Sign Language because their culture is the hearing culture. Their friends, family, social groups and communities do not use ASL. BUT Deaf and hard of hearing and people with hearing loss, as well as people learning English as a second language ALL benefit from having captions. 

We depend on captions for television, movies, relay phone calls, live theater and meetings, etc. However, captions are lacking at churches at synagogues. As a result we no longer attend. We feel excluded from the spiritual communities. (See more about this in the video at the bottom of this post.)

Churches would greatly benefit higher attendance and more donations if they provided captions for the most over looked Disabled community of citizens - the people with hearing loss and deafness.

We would not want to burden a small, struggling church with costs for captioning. However for multi-million dollar churches to continue to say "No" when asked year after year for captions, something isn't right - especially if they provide ASL for the small Deaf community.

Churches and synagogues CAN be inclusive and provide Access to Language. It is easy to provide CART,  real time captioning, if they took time to be educated and learn why this is so important.

There are wonderful professionals available to provide the service remotely over the internet. The technology to do this is amazing and worth the investment. It is heartbreaking to see churches and synagogues that are incredibly "financially healthy" sending thousands of dollars overseas to connect people with God, but denying the very people in their neighborhood the very same opportunity by not providing captions.

People are asking their spiritual communities everywhere to provide this service. How wonderful that some churches have jumped immediately to meet this need.

God is inclusive. If God is inclusive, so should spiritual communities.

Providing captions is such a small thing to do for your neighbor, and it is an incredibly huge action of love.

Encourage your church or synagogue to provide this service, and PUBLICIZE that it is available in your literature, in your announcements, your websites, put signs on your doors and everywhere else. People are looking for God and a place to "see" the word and love of God acted upon with intention, in word, and in deed, 

Watch this short 3 minute video to understand the need for captions more fully:

Want to know more? Here are a few places with more information:

CCAC provides information and support for "Community" access via captioning, such as this webpage on our site: http://ccacaptioning.org/cart-community-clubs-religious-organizations-social-groups/

Need Captions? Just ask here: CaptionMatch.com

Great video and info here: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/disability_issues&id=7997085




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