CaptionMax has a dedicated Consumer Advisory Board with experts in all kinds of accessibility. Now, as guest bloggers, our board members can share their accessibility stories.
First, we’d like to introduce Michelle Rich, an Educational Captionist/ Advocate for the Olathe School District in Kansas. She has been providing access to media for students with hearing loss for nine years. She also loves advocating with production companies to provide captions, detailing the necessity of such, and encouraging those companies who are already providing captioning.
We should let her words speak now! It’s amazing how many talented people strive to make media accessible to all students!
I am an Educational Captionist for a large district in Kansas that serves many students with hearing loss, and I believe I have the best job in the world. It’s fulfilling, challenging, varied, and enjoyable. My main goal is to caption media for the classroom setting, to transform inaccessible media into accessible media in a short period of time. But along the way, I have the opportunity to do much more.
Awareness of access issues is sometimes my first task. I advocate with general education teachers to raise awareness of the critical need for access to the media they use in their classrooms. I work within the context of an amazing team that consists of a variety of talented folks providing service from many directions: teachers of the deaf, general educators, interpreters, transcriptionists, library media specialists, special education coordinators, under the umbrella of an innovative, forward-thinking district. Since I’ve been doing this for nine years, many of the general educators I coordinate with are already on board with the need for accessible media and I move on to finding it or creating it.
Part of my time is spent being a resource for finding accessible media. The Described and Captioned Media Program is an invaluable resource for borrowing educational media in a multitude of subject areas. If a specific title is requested and not available for borrowing or purchasing, then I get busy captioning it.
The variety of subjects to caption is always refreshing. I might be working on a piece of media from elementary to high school level, or from a core subject to a specialty course. Researching terms for correct spelling or discerning a word spoken with an accent can be challenging, but it keeps the work interesting. My favorite part of the job is delivering the finished product. I know for that period of time for that student, the playing field is leveled. I happen to think a few of the students who are visual learners or second language learners might benefit as well. It matters, and it is very satisfying.