DeafWire Edition - 11 June 2022

Weekly DEAFWIRE news recaps
Full DEAFWIRE videos can be seen


Apple's CEO visit

On Friday, May 13th, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook visited Gallaudet University in Washington D.C, to deliver a speech at the graduates’ commencement ceremony. During his speech, he told students that his piece of advice is to lead with your values throughout life. Tim had an ASL interpreter standing next to him on stage for the entire time.

 Apple and Gallaudet have a close relationship. In 2020, Apple provided each student and faculty member with an iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, and Smart Folio tablet case. The company also offered jobs to Gallaudet students. Cook said that Apple’s purpose has always been to create technology that enriches peoples’ lives and making it accessible to all.


Police improves services

A Deaf woman in Vancouver, B.C. filed a complaint that she was not given access to communication during her arrest; the police made her minor daughter interpret. The U.S. Justice department reviewed the case and offered a settlement – the Vancouver Police Department was required to pay her $30,000 USD and had to update their accessibility policies.

 The Vancouver police also equipped their patrol cars and motorcycles with ‘visor cards’ to help communicate with Deaf people. Visor cards contain words and images so the police and Deaf people can easily communicate by pointing.


First Deaf to earn doctorate  

Emily Jo Noschese is the first person in her family and at the University of Hawaii to receive a full university education. She received her doctoral degree from the Department of Linguistics specializing in American Sign Language. In her university application, she wrote that ever since she was 10 years old, she dreamt of getting a Ph.D.

Emily attended Gallaudet University, graduating with a BA in ASL and an MA in linguistics. The linguistics department at the University of Hawaii accommodated her; she also created and taught ASL courses, which are now taught by other Deaf instructors.

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First Deaf Biology Graduate, “Deaftronic” technology business  

In South Africa, a Canadian-born woman is the first Deaf Biology doctoral graduate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal; she earned a Ph.D as a zoologist. She grew up with a passion for animals. She studies their lives and examines their muscles. People at her institution in South Africa really look up to her and recognise her accomplishments.

A Zambian man moved to Botswana because there was a child who struggled to communicate or hear because new hearing aid batteries were very expensive. The man decided to start a business, “Deaftronic” that focuses on Deaf technology. The company created a solar charger that comes with four rechargeable batteries. He won an award for the 2022 Builders of Africa’s Future.


Deafblind doctor

The United Kingdom’s first Deaf-Blind medical student, Alexandra Adams is studying to become the first Deaf-Blind doctor in the UK. When she was 16 years old, she was a patient at a hospital for 18-months due to medical reasons, and that was when she was inspired to pursue a career in palliative care or pediatrics after graduating in 2024.

 Alexandra said “My biggest challenges aren’t my disabilities. It is ignorance and stereotyping that make things hard. I’ve been blind my entire life and I’m able to adapt”. She lives alone, is very independent, and just gets on with it whether it be doing triages, taking blood, entering swimming competitions, or skiing. 


Netflix to add languages

Netflix launched a new collection of shows with characters living with disabilities, titled “Celebrating Disability with Dimension.” It features over 50 shows. With over 1 billion people living with disabilities globally, Netflix grabbed the opportunity to share more inclusive stories. 

Netflix is adding Spanish, Portuguese, and French to their language support options for Audio Descriptions (AD) and Subtitles. This expansion only applies to Netflix Originals. Netflix’s Director of Product Accessibility is also a CODA – she said that Netflix partnered with members of the disability community to develop AD guidelines to make the service more accessible and inclusive. 


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