Inclusion is Not Accessibility


By Lauren E. Storck, Founder of the CCAC

The CCAC Mission: Inclusion of Quality Captioning Universally.

Welcome to issue four of this new publication! We publish at least six issues a year. This is year one, and your interest and support is vital for the CCAC. Forward the newsletter, make copies for your meetings, and place your message in each issue. There is no other publication like this one, solely for captioning advocacy, produced by volunteers, international in outlook, and with this important mission.

Issue 1 introduced the phrase “The Power of Captioning” as the title of this new publication, and to elaborate so many benefits of captioning for millions globally, benefits that are not limited to people with hearing loss or deafness. The history of the word “caption” is rather diffuse. It is not clearly a strong word yet, in terms of its power as a modern communication resource as important as other technologies and systems.

Issue 2 discussed what “Advocacy” means, and how vital it is to ask for what we require as human beings in everyday life. The CCAC does not sell products or services. The does have volunteers who offer occasional captioning and CART for educational purposes. Our reason for being is captioning advocacy. If you are not sure what advocacy means, find issue 2 on our web please, pronto!

Issue 3 presented our view of “Universal” and why we advocate for captioning universally – every day, in all the places so many people need it for effective communication and participation.

This issue takes up the concept of Inclusion. Readers will note there are at least two important meanings of this word.

Inclusion is not Accessibility and Accessibility is not Inclusion

One of our colleagues in human rights and access for people with differences (disabilities) wrote a good line that sticks. It’s the following: “What if the first question we asked was, “What is so unique about this situation that it justifies exclusion?” instead of, “How much does it cost to make it accessible?” (New Mobility, January 2011, pages 36-37, by Scott Rains, Accessibility is not Inclusion. See also Scott’s blog:

There’s a lot more in this excellent article, and it’s no surprise that, while Scott’s main concern is mobility inclusion, his view of the world is close to the CCAC view – collaborate, develop community, and keep moving!

Inclusion for the CCAC

The mission statement uses the word inclusion in one meaning. We need captioning “turned on” and available for us every day. Captioning (subtitles and realtime in many human situations) needs to be there – included. It’s not a luxury. It’s not an “extra” building block. It’s a required resource for human exchange. Captioning inclusion is our ramp for communication access. It needs to be there, or we are excluded.

Inclusion is a much larger concept also, and the second meaning is equally important for the CCAC. Inclusion is more than access (a word that is used in many ways also). Inclusion means belonging, a powerful psychological concept, and a human need.

Inclusion in this sense also means participation and giving back. No matter what differences so many of us have, we have similarities too, skills and experience, and on top of it all, we are human just like others. Our strengths and weaknesses, in all people, range over a continuum. No one is perfect, and no one is imperfect. We are different.

Inclusion also means the obvious – not being excluded!