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RE: Accessibility for Deaf

From: Cynthia Waddell <cynthia.waddell@icdri.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2005 08:13:42 -0700
To: <Stuart.M.Smith@manchester.ac.uk>, <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <NBECLDKOGKHEKBAEEANNKELFEDAA.cynthia.waddell@icdri.org>

Let's drop the "deaf/dumb" description in the subject header.  This is
offensive to my community and harks back to those days when the general
population thought that we were dumb simply because we had a hearing loss.

But you should know that not only do people with hearing loss use text
telephones, but also people with speech disabilities.

And yes, sign language varies around the world.  For example, in the US we
can sign the alphabet with one hand whereas in Britain it requires two
hands.  Being literate in American Sign Language does not mean you are
literate in British Sign Language.  And being literate in ASL and BSL does
not mean you are literate in English - whether or not it is the Kings

For this reason, I recommend you not use images and simply provide text
information about the phone number.  A direct TTD or TTY number can be a
sign (no pun intended) of quality customer service and if you have one, then
by all means publish this information on the web site.  If you do use
images, though, be sure they are accessible for people using screen readers.

Best regards,
Cynthia Waddell

Cynthia D. Waddell, JD
Executive Director and
Law, Policy and Technology Consultant
International Center for Disability Resources
   on the Internet (ICDRI)
Phone:  (408) 691-6921

ICDRI is based in
Raleigh, North Carolina USA

See my new book!
Constructing Accessible Web Sites

Is your Site Accessible?
Find out now with Cynthia Says! http://www.cynthiasays.com
Endorsed by the American Council of the Blind,
the Cynthia SaysTM portal is a joint Education
and Outreach project of ICDRI, The Internet
Society Disability and Special Needs Chapter,
and HiSoftware.

-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org]On
Behalf Of Stuart Smith
Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 1:59 AM
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: RE: Accessibility for Deaf/Dumb

Hi Julian

Someone who is deaf and or mute may not be able to ready the kind of English
those with speech and hearing use very well at all because it will probably
not be their first language as British Sign Language (and others) use a
different syntax, grammar etc - it is another language.

You have several options - you could use "easy read" as advocated by the
Disability Rights Commission in the UK (I think!) and/or sign language

Remember your client is asking for this information for this specific group
who will benefit directly form the technology they are offering to help i.e.
the special phone line. So surely logic would dictate that their
communication should be the priority in this case

Got to admit I find the tone of your email disappointing and offensive with
phrases like "taking things too far". I am not sure that labelling "mute"
people "dumb" is a very kind spirited act either.

You kind of imply that helping the disable is something to be tolerated only
within bounds that are convenient to you and not an actual positive step.
Sorry if you don't mean it that way but I think its important to challenge
these things.



-----Original Message-----
From: w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org [mailto:w3c-wai-ig-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Julian Voelcker
Sent: 06 October 2005 09:00
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Subject: Accessibility for Deaf/Dumb

Morning All,

A client of ours has suggested putting some sign language images on their
site that tells visitors to call a special phone line kitted out for braille
based phones.

My gut feeling is that this is taking things too far and anybody that is
deaf or dumb would be able to read normal text so the sign language would be

Am I wrong?

Any feedback would be appreciated.


Julian Voelcker
Cirencester, United Kingdom
Received on Thursday, 6 October 2005 15:14:02 UTC

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