Direct Video Calling Increases Access for Deaf Citizens
White House – Blog
BY R. DAVID EDELMAN
JULY 28, 2015
Summary: As the White House celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we’re announcing some new steps to help the government stay accessible to all Americans using the latest technology.
Technology has given us incredible new tools to communicate with friends, family, and colleagues, and all Americans should enjoy these benefits — including, and especially, those with disabilities.
For those with hearing or speech impairments, digital video and other tools have helped these communities stay connected and working, rather than isolated. So, as the White House celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we’re announcing some new steps to help the government stay accessible to all Americans using the latest technology.
We are pleased to announce that two agencies that routinely interface with the disabilities community — the U.S. Census Bureau and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) — will soon be taking up direct video calling technology to allow Deaf citizens to communicate directly with American Sign Language (ASL)-fluent call operators there. This work responds to the President’s 2011 executive order calling upon agencies to use technology to improve customer service, and is another step in the right direction.
Why? In general, citizens who are deaf reach federal agencies via third-party interpreters who facilitate their conversations by interpreting to those on the other end of the line. But broadband and faster connections have made direct video calling not just possible, but commonplace. With this technology, the result can be a call that is direct, clear, and can allow Americans who are deaf to communicate in American Sign Language.