Words! – Why Captioning is Needed! “It has always been a struggle to follow the storyline on television programmes and DVDs without captions”

My name is Robert and I’m profoundly Deaf but have a cochlear implant, which has been very successful. I have been married for 10 years to Holly and I also run a successful business.

It has always been a struggle to follow the storyline on television programmes and DVDs without captions – the voices are not always clear, the storyline typically changes quite quickly, and don’t get me started on the foreign accents! It is also very tiring having to concentrate when you are already struggling to hear. If a programme is without captions, I avoid watching it which means that Holly has to check if something has captioning first, or watch it alone. This has caused a few tensions in our household!

We have three beautiful children – Oliver (7), Harmony (5) and Alfie (2). Oliver has a moderate hearing loss and is on the autism spectrum. For Oliver, the message is clear – every time we put on a DVD, and while setting it up, I get told multiple times “words!”. He will watch a DVD without captioning but we notice he can get distracted more easily and frequently. This is caused by noisy siblings and the effects of autism. His concentration levels increase with captioning, which obviously supports the need for it. On TV, we turn the captioning on for the children’s programmes but we notice there are frequent gaps in the schedule with no captions.

For us, the simple phrase is “words!” and that is why we support this 100% captioning campaign.

Robert Hewison
President Deaf Aotearoa

Note: Robert’s Experiences support the findings of UK researcher Judith Garman who has published an article that provides insight into the positive impacts of captions and audio description on people in the autism spectrum. By combining the visuals and audio, they can help create a complete picture for people who have autism, Aspergers, monotropism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and dyslexia.

You can Read Garman’s article here

Robert and Oliver Need Words by Harmony Hewison

Robert and Oliver Need Words by Harmony Hewison

See an Index of all our Captioning Blogs here.

4 Comments Added

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  1. Rose April 30, 2014 | Reply
    Absolutely, absolutely. I get auditory overload very easily, and I love video gaming, and when games start with a video and no subtitles (and no way to turn them on!!!), it's so frustrating, and even if it's not overloading me it's incredibly difficult to understand. My concentration for games is increased with the availability of full closed captioning, and also, being that any loud sudden sounds send me into full panic attacks, I find it much better to have a caption of "LOUD BANG" than my heart practically stopping. I have a life plan to make video games more accessible with not just subtitles on everything but the option for closed captioning too (such as with sound descriptors). I think a lot of people don't understand such things are used by a very wide variety of people.
  2. Robyn April 30, 2014 | Reply
    I agree - I'm not sure they realise the importance of captioning for the mainstream. I know of hearing people who use captions after their kids are in bed so they don't wake them up. I'm sick of the pitiful amount here in New Zealand.
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