I attended the Kansas Disability Caucus earlier this month and was able to not only be present a session but attended some fabulous sessions. The one that stuck out the most, and I can’t stop thinking about, was presented by Robert Cooper who works for the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. He spoke about barriers and how individuals can advocate for their communication needs.
The part that has really stuck with me was him referring to himself attending a meeting and there was not an interpreter or a closed caption set up the meeting would continue, and he’s basically out of luck. But if someone was having a large meeting and the microphone didn’t work the meeting would stop until the microphone was working so everyone could hear the speaker.
Communication access is important for all people to get the desired information. People need to advocate for their needs and make sure they are clear that this is a NEED and not just a want. They can request multiple accommodations (interpreter and closed caption) and just make the primary preference known. Whether accommodations are provided or not, the person should follow up with the meeting holder. I appreciate Robert Cooper’s presentation and his organization’s strides to get a bill passed that will help with communication access. I’ve added the link to that bill http://www.kslegislature.org/li/b2021_22/measures/documents/sb62_enrolled.pdf