Community and Advocacy
Strongly believing in “Accessibility for Life,” VITAC strives to make accessible content standard, and stand by our commitment to provide captions and accessible solutions for our consumers, the tens of millions of Americans who rely on captioning every day.
VITAC has worked with advocacy groups and caption viewers in the community for more than three decades, and we are proud of — and benefit greatly from — our strong advocate relationships, including those with:
- National Association of the Deaf, the nation’s premier civil rights organization of, by and for deaf and hard of hearing individuals in the United States of America
- Hearing Loss Association of America, the nation’s leading organization representing consumers with hearing loss
- Telecommunications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, an active national advocacy organization focusing its energies and resources to address equal access issues in telecommunications and media for people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, late-deafened, and deaf-blind
- Hands and Voices, a non-profit, parent-driven organization dedicated to supporting families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing
VITAC also has a long history of collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and our representatives have worked with the commission for more than two decades on a wide variety of projects, including:
- Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee (VPAAC): VITAC was part of a committee formed after the passage of the 21st Century Video Communications Accessibility Act in 2010 that worked to establish technical requirements and safe harbors for the new rules. VITAC was a member of three committee working groups – Video Description, Emergency Information, and User Interfaces.
- Disability Advisory Committee: Heather York, VITAC Vice President, Marketing and Government Affairs, has served on two FCC Disability Advisory Committees as a non-voting member of the video programming subcommittee. In her role as a representative of caption providers, she advises on the technical requirements for topics ranging from mixed-case captioning to audio description pass-through possibilities to captioning clips delivered via IP after aired on television.
- Captioned Clips Requirements: VITAC advised the commission on the feasibility of requiring captions for clips of full-length programming delivered via IP.
- DTV Transitions Committee: VITAC served on the committee formed to advise the FCC on accessibility concerns in the transition from analog to digital television in 2009.
- Caption Quality Best Practices: VITAC collaborated with three other captioning providers and the National Court Reporters Association (now the National Captioner and Reporter Association) to draft the FCC’s Caption Quality Best Practices in 2014. The group crafted many requirements still in effect today for captioning, including the necessity of now-common elements in captions such as placement, punctuation, speaker identification, and the inclusion of lyrics and sound effects.
Additionally, we have worked closely with both Gallaudet University and the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) on many FCC committees and actions.
VITAC also is proud of our long-standing partnership and active involvement with: