International Week of the Deaf, Day of Sign Languages Celebrate Deaf Awareness, Accessibility

by: David Titmus

Deaf awareness and accessibility steps into the spotlight during next week’s celebrations of International Week of the Deaf and International Day of Sign Languages.

International Week of the Deaf (running Sept. 23 to 30) and International Day of Sign Languages (Sept. 23) will carry the shared theme of “With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!” This year marks the first year that the International Day of Sign Language will be celebrated.

International Week of the Deaf Logo International Week of the Deaf (IWDeaf), held annually on the last full week of September, is an initiative of the World Federation of the Deaf. First launched in 1958, IWDeaf is celebrated through various activities by deaf communities worldwide, and enlists the participation and involvement of various community stakeholders, including families, peers, governmental agencies, professional sign language interpreters, and advocacy groups and organizations.

International Day of Sign Languages LogoInternational Day of Sign Languages (IDSL) was adopted last year by the United Nations General Assembly and will be recognized for the first time on Sunday. IDSL’s objective is to raise awareness and strengthen the status about sign languages.

A joint global advocacy effort, IDSL and IWDeaf are intended to raise awareness about the deaf community, sign languages, and the rights of deaf individuals, and focus on gathering together, becoming united, and showing that unity to the rest of the world.

VITAC has worked with caption viewers and advocacy groups for more than 30 years, and strongly believes in “Accessibility for Life” and the need to make accessible content standard.

Captions and accessible content benefit millions of people, including:

  • The more than 50 million Americans who are deaf or hard-of-hearing;
  • The estimated three million children learning to read who use captioning as a tool to improve reading and listening skills;
  • The 10 million people over the age of 17 for whom English is not their first language and use captioned television as a powerful and effective literacy and language-learning tool;
  • The two million Americans over the age of 62 who suffer from hearing loss and do not use hearing aids; and
  • The one-third of all veterans returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan who suffer substantial hearing loss.

VITAC proudly supports International Week of the Deaf and the International Day of Sign Languages, and stands by our commitment to provide captions and accessible solutions for our customers, while, perhaps most importantly, maintaining the highest quality for our consumers, the tens of millions of Americans who rely on captioning every day.