For people who are deaf and use sign language, an interpreter can make all of the difference in many communication situations. What does one do, though, when an interpreter is not available and texting/writing are not options? Thankfully due to the wonderful advancements in technology these past several years, there are now many options available to people who are deaf.
In July, 2013, I wrote a blog post about one option, an inexpensive two-way communication app system called Deaf-Hearing Chat. Carolyn, a North Dakotan who is deaf and was experiencing difficulty finding interpreters when she needed them, happened to read this blog post and decided that the Deaf-Hearing Chat system just might work for her needs.
Deaf-Chat is an app system that runs on two mobile devices, connected by Bluetooth, allowing for a running conversation in text form between a person who is deaf and does not speak with a person who can hear. For example, the person who can hear, types or uses voice recognition to enter a message on the device and sends it to the device of the person who is deaf. The person who is deaf types a response and sends it to the person who can hear. Both devices keep a running conversation, similar to text messaging on a smart phone.
After seeing a demonstration of this system at IPAT, Carolyn applied and received dollars from the IPAT P4P Fund to pay for two tablets and the Deaf-Hearing Chat app system. She stated,
” I am deaf and the 2 Samsung Galaxy tablets enable me to type what I want to say so that others can easily read what I am telling them. I am able to talk to more people now! Thank you!”
If you know of anyone who could benefit from assistive technology, but has no funding source, the next deadline to apply for IPAT Pedaling for Possibilities (P4P) funds is March 1, 2015. Applications are available here.
If you would like to donate or help raise funds for the IPAT P4P program, please check out our website or contact us at 1-800-895-4728.