The History of Tech Reshaping Deaf Communication | Deaf Culture Lesson
Hey, signers. I just wanted to let you know that enrollment is now open for 2023. Fall Intensive. And if you sign up this week, you get 25% off. For all the details, click the link in the description. In this video, my friend Sarah is going to teach you about the technology used by the deaf, not only from today, but even assistive technology.
First introduced in the 1960s. this technology lesson is from our 201 culture session and is taught by a Deaf teacher. This lesson is packed full. So let's get started. Hello! Welcome back to Deaf Culture for Class II. Today's topic[what] is technology for the Deaf.
I'm going to start with sharing the technology, the different kinds of technology that was used in the beginning the 1960's all the way through now, because it changed so much what was available. So I'm going to share stories of me, my experiences with technology when I first started to use it in the 1970's. The Deaf have always relied on technology, assistive devices to help them know when sounds are happening around them, not just the phone but everything like the doorbell or the fire alarm or waking up in the morning, all those different things. I'm going to start with talking about TTY, TDD's, which we call the telephone call for the Deaf. It was like [box] typewriter type of device. The first one was invented 1964.
It was big, heavy, bulky thing. Huge, heavy, ugly, brown and by 1970 my dad bought one for me and I didn't use it much because the other person I wanted to talk to had to have the same machine. So my dad had one, my mom had one and me. [typing] Well, I'm 10 years old and up. I didn't want to talk to my dad and my mom. I wanted to talk to my friends, my boyfriend. So I didn't use my TTY very much because of that reason. So what did I do? My family, my siblings, my sister mostly, my brother sometimes would talk on the phone for me. "They said, they said," it was like a three-way but with my siblings or friends, my best friend would talk to other people for me especially a guy. Yes, it was awkward, yes especially at college
when, um I didn't have my TTY with me, my dad would try to contact me. I was at my boyfriend's or a friend's house. So I would have to call them use my friend or my boyfriend to talk to my dad for me. That was awkward sometimes. My dad would call and say "Sarah, you have an overdraft." We didn't know; we were at college. We would overspend our money, so that was awkward at times. Later in the 1990's the TTY's got better, they became smaller, more portable, more compact, easy to stick in your purse. And then but still depending on a friend or someone to call someone but still call some makes still at that time had to have a TTY to [call] talk to me until 1994 when the new law, American Disabilities Act was signed into law. That changed everything after that law was passed.
We had what was called relay service, where they had a telephone operator for the Deaf, where we had to call a 1-800 number and they would relay voice messages for us. That made is so much easier for the Deaf people to call hearing people that didn't have a TTY. We really depended on the relay to call for us, make doctors appointments, or order something or order food, or just to call a hearing person say hey, I met you at this social gathering, would you like to get together for a chat? Just calling hearing people was so much easier after the ADA was passed.
But still using the relay service was still challenging and frustrating at times. A lot of times people that was first time using relay they thought it was a prank or someone soliciting something. So often, I would use the relay service to make a call, they would call the person I'm calling would hang up because they thought it was prank or selling something. So I would have them call again they have to quickly explain and sometimes explanations were great. Ohh, yes I get it now, I understand, a Deaf person is calling me
through you, okay. But sometimes they would still wouldn't get it and still hang up which was frustrating for both of us. So, but it was still a three-way but I didn't have to use my family to help call for me. I used the relay service to call, and then it eventually it developed into video relay service which was when I would video with an interpreter, signing instead of typing but then they voice for me. This time I'm signing to a video and they can see me on the video, they are voicing to the person
I'm calling. I still use video service to make doctors appointments but that the only time now but that started to change because most doctors office you can make an appointment by email, so it's been nice. Also they have texting services as well, so now using a video service or a relay service is becoming less common now than before. But still video relay service is my favorite. We have different types of video relay. They're called Sorenson, ZVRS. You also have apps on your phone that you can use for um, to make video calls through video interpreters Sorenson, ZVRS. I don't use apps on my phone for video service but I know of others that do. By the way, video relay didn't occur until about 2005, um, so that's when we started the video
but prior to that was the relay service using a TTY. Sarah's technology lesson is one of numerous sessions in our 201 course and our new 401 course that's coming next month. Here is what to expect in our Intensives. Three week online intensive, 12 hours in a live interactive class.
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Click the link in the description to get all the details. Spots are limited, so reserve your seat. Now back to technology. Now around 2000-2004 pagers were also used by the Deaf to get an email or notification that someone was trying to contact us. So we would um, [type] call relay service or video service to call the people back. I used the pager for brief time so people would email me a message and I would type or email them back or just get a phone number and I would recognize, oh that's my husband calling me trying to get in touch with me.
So I would go use a phone that I had. I had a portable TTY, remember they made them smaller and smaller through the timeline. So by 2000 I had um, it was about this big, you open it and you could put a phone on it and I could type and I was able to call my husband back. If he paged me, I would call him back. Then finally, 2004 texting was invented. Oh, that made contacting people so much easier just to text or to email if they didn't have texting. So since 2004 texting has been so much easier so I'm thinking about the young Deaf people that never had to go through my experience of um, there are people older than 30 years old of having to struggle with TTY's, videos, or relay service, video relay service.
Just the different ways of technology challenges. Growing up with that to now, so much easier texting, FaceTime you can FaceTime with Deaf people look at your phone put it in front, sign, so much easier now communicating with other Deaf or hearing, by or using a video relay or direct FaceTime, texting direct, it's so nice, so nice. And I look at the young Deaf people, they never had to struggle like we did [experience in the past] So, the different types of phones that started with texting. My first one was a Blackberry phone, texting, emailing that was so easy that I converted to an iPhone [iPhone]. Now FaceTime, texting, email, social media, Instagram, Snap Chat
TikTok, all of that is closed captioned now, but that was all of them phone technology that I explained. The changes from 1964 with the first invention of the TTY to using an iPhone now texting, emailing, FaceTime. Now I'm going to talk about a different kind of technology device which is um, um, waking up in the morning alarms, or the smoke detectors or the different things. Before the assistive devices we used for waking up in the morning has a powerful light that would flash to wake you up in the morning or alert you of the doorbell when someone is knocking on the door or telephone ringing. So we would have lights that would go off through the house or the room depending on where you live. So we would have signals for the phone, doorbell, fire alarm, alarm clock. Also, the alarm clock also had vibrations as well as flashing lights to help you wake up in the morning. So I had um, when growing up, I had an alarm clock that would wake me
in the morning but I was a heavy sleeper so it didn't always wake me up in the morning, so my dad would always wake me up in the mornings until I went to college then I was forced to use the alarm with the light that would flash. But by that time the lights became more powerful, so they were more like a strobe. It was awful, I mean awful, a strobe lights! Imagine waking up to that [flash] so I used that to wake my up in the mornings. And I had a fire alarm [flash] in my room in my college dorm. I had a fire alarm light but it was only in my room or just my room, that was it. They didn't have one in the hallway or the bathroom in the dorm that we had to use. I do have an experience in my college living in the dorm. We had an actual fire in a different part of the dorm
not the part of mine, thankfully. It was different part of the dorm. This day I was in the bathroom this time, I was taking a shower. So I took long showers. Anyway, I go back to my room. I go in the door and I see [flashing] the light. Oh it's the fire alarm. I didn't know if it was drill or an actual fire so I get my robe, I go, I leave my room go down the fire escape [walk down] By the way, I live on the 3rd floor so when I go down the fire escape I look down there's all these people on the floor. [looking] Wow, so I just go down the fire escape. my RA is there she's like, OH, where were you? I said, "I was in the bathroom taking a shower.'
She goes, "I checked the showers." I said, "if you say hello, I didn't hear you." Anyway, it was a learning experience for the RA. After that, if we had another fire alarm, they would always check the shower [one by one]. They had to. So anyway after that I lived in an apartment, I didn't live in the dorm again after that. So, I had a light for things that was better technology for me than dorm living. But now, after the passing of ADA, all required to have lights for the fire in the hallway, bathrooms, dorms, each room in the dorms, each room. I went to my daughter lived in a dorm her freshman year.
I saw the light in her room and the hallway and the bathroom. So it's nice now that have that now for the Deaf, young Deaf people today than my experience [in the past]. So the way we had the lights connected to flashing is we would have a what we call a signal and a receiver to plug in wall that receives the sounds and it passes through the signal which is plugged into a lamp [pulling cord]. So every time the phone would ring or the doorbell [pushes] or someone knocks at the door or a fire alarm would ring the lamp would flash. And I knew which was which by the way the light came off and on. If it was a phone, the lamp would begin to ring, r---i---n---g, it would come on then go off, r---i---n---g, r---i---n---g so I knew that was the phone ringing. If it was the doorbell, it would go [fast] ring, it would flash, flash then stop, then flash again so I knew that was the doorbell. If it was a knock, it would go more [quick] flashing, so I was able to recognize which
sound was happening. I used the signals throughout my life even until I had a hearing dog. I will explain later at the end of this class about my hearing dog. But I want to talk about baby signals, how? Yes, we have baby signals that alert the Deaf mom or father of the baby crying. We had that when my son was born. We hooked a baby, bought a baby signal and a TV monitor so I could see
what's happening. So when the baby will cry the lights were flashing through the house. We had a signals and a receiver in every room in the house and a receiver signal both so that wherever the baby was or whenever I was when the baby cried I knew where to go, not just in the baby's room, it was all over my house. I do have a funny story for you about using the baby signals. This was just right after my son was born. So the time during then night sometimes we young mom and dads were try to let the baby cry a little bit, just to cry it out. Sometimes he would cry in the middle of the night, briefly cry. So we were waiting to see if he would
[continue] cry or short cry. Anyway this is at night and um when the baby cries the lamps all through my house would flash all over, all over. So see through the window flashing. Well one night at 3 in the morning my neighbor rang the doorbell. She was worried, so my husband went to the door say, hey. She worried, I think there's a fire in your house My husband was OH!, then he realized, no. She misunderstood, she thought that the lights flashing because the baby was crying at night flashing. She thought that was a fire happening because of the lights. It would stop and then start again. Anyway, she was concerned, a sweet lady but my husband had to explain, no, that's not a fire....that's the baby alert for my wife.
The neighbor knows I'm Deaf so he explained what was happening to her. Ohhh, I get it! So after that I'm sure there were times people were concerned in the middle of the night when the baby was crying and the lights [flashing] through the house like, huh, what's going on? Is that house haunted or what or on fire?!? Anyway, I'm sure we have stories about that. Now I'm going to talk about current, what we have available now technology. Awesome, the best are iPhones or Samsung. You can FaceTime or video chat. We also have alarms set on the phones. If it rings, FaceTime rings or text, you get a text I so now have a light that flashes through the back my phone when someone calls me or FaceTimes me. The light flashes so I recognize, oh, someone's calling me
or FaceTime. If it's a text, it flashes twice. If it's a call, it's an ongoing flashing light and it also vibrates as well. So it's got both the lights flashing and the vibration both. And then uh now I use the timer when I'm cooking or baking. I use the timer on my phone because when it's done, it rings. The light flashes too and it's a nice feature. And then when they first came out with an Apple watch, I took it off for the video but I use my Apple watch. It also alerts when someone calls me or text me or the timer beeps. The Apple watch vibrates briefly.
It doesn't have a light but it [lightly vibrates], so it alerts me so I know when it happens, so it's nice to have. And now I have something I'm going to show you if are needing don't have an interpreter you are needing to get to text something or type something to order food or food, order or if you are talking with a hearing person while you're out shopping or something you try to let them know what you're saying but you don't sign or don't want to talk, there's an app called Cardzilla, it's a purple app. So you can click on it and you can type, "Hello, I need to...it says, "Hello, I need to make an order", then you can order through text type. It's in big print so you don't have to hand over the phone. You can just order something
or if you need to talk to a hearing person that you're looking for something, you can just type communicate through this. Now there's another app that is amazing! It's call Ava app, it's wonderful. Real time closed captioning, I use that often when I'm out and about shopping when I'm communicating with a sales person or if I'm at the doctors office communicating with the doctor and I don't have an interpreter or if I'm at a meeting and they couldn't get an interpreter for me, a brief meeting I use the Ava app for real time closed captioning. It's amazing. It looks like this, blue and signal [&] It's wonderful and it really picks up closed captioning. It's amazing. I use it often. I highly recommend that app. If you want to get that app, you go to Ava.me. Go to that website and in the end you add you add a click app then add it to your phone.
Those two are wonderful apps to have. Now I'm going to talk about some non-technology, meaning hearing dogs. There are hearing dogs available. I had a hearing dog back back in 1991. Never planned to but she was amazing. My hearing dog, her name was Gracie sign name. She was able to let me know if someone, if the alarm was going off and the phone or wake me up in the morning when the alarm went off or the smoke alarm, fire alarm detector or the doorbell, someone knocking at the door or if people walking by the house, people calling me by my name.
She was able to alert of all the different sounds you hear. She was wonderful. The best I've ever had. Right now I don't have a hearing dog. I do have a dog that helps with the doorbell, someone knocking at the door or the oven or my phone beeping. But not a trained hearing dog certified. I don't have one right now. But Gracie was all of that for me. She was amazing and never failed to alert me. The thing with technology
you always have make sure the batteries are there light flashing. Sometimes the battery would die. I wouldn't get the alert. So always had to be on top of battery problems or if the electricity or the power goes out. Something was happening because a storm, or snow, or ice...power outage. So you always had to depend on power, electricity, or batteries But with a hearing dog, you never had to depend on those things which is really nice. So there are many different options. Have technology for the Deaf or assistive devices for the Deaf.
So but the point is now Deaf have it so much easier than a long time ago to [now]. Okay, Thank you What an awesome lesson from Sarah. Join our next intensive. And you will be learning personally from a team of teachers who are passionate about you learning ASL in an encouraging environment.
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