ALEX JONES: Hello there, I’m Alex Jones and I am one of the co-founders of Ai-Media. As you are aware, we are approaching Deaf Awareness Week in the last week of September. That week is important to spread awareness about Deaf history, Deaf culture, sign language etc. and identity. This is crucial – identity.
We have experienced audism by other people who can hear. We need to stop audism. Deaf people have rights. We can do it. Deaf can do anything. The prevalence of audism occurs all the time for deaf people. There are some dreadful stories out there in the community about experiencing audism.
At the same time, there are success stories with no barriers where access is being provided. There’s so many stories out there. I want to share my experience - recently I went to Europe, I was in Barcelona. I was staying at a hotel, and the room we were staying in was nice, but did not have any accessibility features for my needs. As a result, I advised the hotel staff at reception that I am a person who is deaf and has access needs. There is no fire alarm or doorbell lights and they advised that they would look into it and arrange for us to move to another room. Then we moved to this other room, the room looked quite luxurious and big, with a king size bed and other fantastic features.
After we have settled in the room, I had a good look around trying to work out what they have done to make sure this room is accessible for me. There’s no flashing lights anywhere. There’s nothing on the door. I opened the bathroom door and to my realization, they have placed me into a room for a disabled person with a wheelchair-accessible toilet and shower. Oh boy, that’s so wrong! No, I’m not THAT person and do not need this. I am Deaf – oh well… It was not an issue I’d argue and I accepted the room as it is. That was my experience of audism, these people do not know what requirements people with disability have and they had no idea of my needs as a deaf person.
On the flip side, there is a great story to share from my recent trip. I was on a flight with Emirates Airlines, it was so awesome because they had a single channel designated for closed-captioned movies. Get this. Over 40 closed-captioned movies were available on that designated channel. I can choose any of these at my own will. That was really cool. At that moment, I experienced full access even though there were many films without captions, but imagine this - 40 films available with captions on one flight is not a problem for me at all!
Now, I want to hear your experiences, your story – please share. You can find more information on our website, the link is down here… Come on now.