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Let’s go digital! iStore supports deaf awareness campaign

28 Sep 2020

By Aphiwe Bulo

Technology company Apple’s iStore Meets, in partnership with iSchool Africa , is advocating for deaf awareness by hosting free online sessions about Apple’s accessible products and features.

The first session was on Thursday, September 10. In the discussion, Deaf Awareness: Keeping everyone in conversation with the iPad, Apple’s technology and educational solutions company to help teachers and leaners, Think Ahead and a South African Sign Language interpreter demonstrated and explained how to use apps and tools with the best hearing and communication features.

Thabo Nkatlo, a finalist for Mr. Deaf South Africa 2020, showed the audience how Live Listen can be used by a deaf student to hear and read what the lecturer is saying during a lecture. Live Listen sends direct sounds from one’s environment to Made For iPhone (MFI) hearing aids,after connecting the hearing aids to the user’s iPad. Live Captions converts direct speech into written text.

In the role of an iStore customer, Thabo used Speak Screen and Dictation to communicate with the shop assistant. The app dictates written speech and can also be used to read text-based document’s such as iBooks.

Other accessible Apple features include using Closed Captions to add subtitles to movies, TV shows and music and responding to messages using an Apple watch, which allows users to scribble letters that will be converted to text. Accessibility Settings on the iPad and iPhone allow users to set up their apps and devices according to their individual disabilities.

“For people without disabilities technology makes things easier, for people with disabilities technology makes things possible.” by Mary Pat Rudabaugh, director of IBM national support center for persons with disabilities.

“When you are planning or celebrating anything about the Deaf, involve the Deaf,” said Thabo Nkatlo, who can relate to the challenges faced by Deaf people.

iPhone is having a massive update with its built-in accessibility features in October. The Accessibility updates will   include having Sign Language for FaceTime and Sound Recognition, which will alert users on sounds when someone knocking on the door or the alarm goes off or the baby is crying. your phone will recognise it and you will receive a notification on your phone.  

To end off the deaf awareness month and celebrate International Day of Sign Language,iStore Meets and iSchool Africa were scheduled to host ‘Deaf Awareness: Sign Language in motion with Apple technology’, on September 23, where poets were to share how Apple technology has helped to preserve and publish Sign Language, poetry and literacy.

“The best accessibility is to learn sign language,” said Chelsea Williamson, Inclusion & Accessibility Facilitator at iSchool Africa, during the online session.

Empower Deaf people and support the use of accessible Apple features and devices that will include them in conversations about deaf awareness.

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