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Assisting the Deaf Community

            Members of the Deaf Community, and their supporters in the hearing community, have made significant strides in modifying the environment in order to make certain common activities more accessible and convenient for Deaf citizens. This research paper approaches this topic from the perspective of a female college student whose life is presently composed of four major areas, and will seek to compare the experiences of these areas from a hearing as well as a deaf perspective, with a focus on what adaptive devices, applications or strategies facilitate such experiences for deaf individuals. The four areas include tele-communication, family life, education, and entertainment. In order to narrow the potentially broad focus of the research, the paper will be limited to one experience example for each area of life discussed.
             For hearing people, calling anyone they wish from a home or mobile phone is a simple fact of life that is taken for granted. What seems like a simple task for most, used to be anything but for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Although video conferencing has been around for some years now, it only solves the problem of communication with other Deaf people remotely, but does not address the issue of communicating with someone via video, who does not know sign language. This issue has been mitigated by the development of the Video Relay Service (VRS) that is managed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). VRS enables people who communicate via ASL to communicate with people who use an average telephone. This is accomplished by a video connection that the Deaf person establishes with a VRS communication assistant (CA) who is typically a qualified sign language interpreter, and they communicate to each other in signed conversation. The CA then places a telephone call to the.
             party the Deaf person wishes to contact, and conveys the conversation between parties, verbally on one end, and in ASL on the other.

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