Building Accessible Spaces: Integrating Assistive Technology

Project: Building Accessible Spaces: Integrating Assistive Technology

Team: Dorian Havers, Greg Morrow, Michelle Hermans, & Eric Fegan

School/Unit Represented:  FAS, UDR 


According to the National Institutes of Health, 15% of American adults experience hearing loss. We know that individuals with this invisible disability often miss information and can feel excluded when they attend events, even when room amplification and microphones are in use.

In the spirit of inclusion and belonging, best practice is to host accessible events, including but not limited to providing effective communication services such as American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and live captioning (CART).

Unfortunately, the demand for live, in-person ASL interpreters and CART service providers far exceeds the supply, even when requested with significant notice. However, technology has evolved so that ASL and CART services can now be provided remotely, such as utilizing a service provider in another state for a live event here on campus.

This remote process involves connecting electronic devices such as iPads, laptops, etc. to the event space sound system and requires supporting audio/visual media technology staff to acquire the specialized knowledge to analyze and implement the appropriate assistive technology solutions.    

In addition, our physical spaces across campus have various sound systems that require specialized applications and troubleshooting skills as both room and individual needs are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

We have learned through our work with university partners that significant gaps exist in both the availability of technology and the skills of audio/visual media technology staff to implement these effective communication solutions.

To provide these services, we need to develop the skills of our audio/visual media technology staff and provide them with the necessary resources and tools to carry out this process.  This project would allow for the development of a training for audio/visual media technology staff which would be filmed, captioned and posted, along with the availability of portable technology solutions for effective communication.