Accessible Technology Now!

Posted on 22 February 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

See the following message in American Sign Language (13 min.):

Many federal laws have been enacted to require greater access to telecommunications for deaf people and also blind people. There is only one problem – the federal laws that we worked so hard to enact over the past 20 years have not kept pace with many new technologies. For instance, television shows that are re-shown over the Internet are under no requirement to be captioned — even if they had captions when they were shown on TV! Also, small TVs, cell phones, PDAs, and other mobile devices are not required to display captions, even though they are now capable of showing TV shows. Also, for now, 9-1-1 emergency call centers cannot accept calls from people who need to communicate in video or via pagers.

During the spring of 2007, a new coalition, the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT), was established to try to fix these problems, as well as problems affecting blind people (for example the need for video description). Founding organizations include Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD), the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), and the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). As of November 2007, at least 167 national, regional, state or local organizations are members of the COAT.

COAT now has an online petition to support passage of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act so that EVERYONE can access technology. Sign it now and spread the word!


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