Opinion – by Rebekah Rose-Mundy

AI Media have been in the news recently. They have been on The New Inventors show on ABC and have been promoted widely through numerous newspaper articles. They have been promoting their new system of classroom captioning to much aclaim. Rebekah Rose -Mundy challenges the assumption that the AI  Media classroom captioning is the new and cheaper alternative to Auslan interpreters. We thank Rebekah for having the courage to submit her strong  and challenging views.

I wonder what are your thoughts on Ai Media? They are saying Ai Media (live captioning) costs about $40,000 a year and interpreters cost about $100,000 a year. They are saying it cheaper and better for deaf children to be educated by using Ai Media instead of interpreters.

It was recently shown on ABC and it was published in the Sydney Morning Herald. Time and technology had changed so much in the past 10 years and I agree with you we are forgetting what we used to have whilst now we are ‘whinging’ about not enough access or if it not the right type of access.

However about this type of technology, it is amazing how live captioning is now becoming a ‘must have’ for deaf people, I applaud such technology and I am proud to have access to this technology BUT I have to say there is a place and time it should not be used. This is my opinion, I feel sadden about the ‘loud’ marketing of Ai Media and misinforming about Interpreters used in schools.

Remember when we all were young (I am one of those people in your generation) we didn’t have interpreters we had hearing welfare people who could sign. They would trot along with us to appointments and fingerspell/sign for us. Over time, interpreters became more professional and almost everything we have interpreters that is the most amazing access for deaf people. We are now training more and more people and we have courses to make them more fluent in sign and today I cannot live without an interpreter.

Till now, Ai Media is saying out loud ‘Schools can save money on interpreters by using Ai Media instead and deaf children will access to a better education by improving literacy skills’. Yes I am furious because I have 4 children and 3 of them are deaf. One is already in a deaf non signing program and when he is ready to start mainstream I aim for him to have an interpreter for assembly, sports, excursions, and eventually become his full time interpreter.

We all know how much it is a battle to argue with the Department of Education about our children needing full time support in the classroom while they say ‘only can give 10 hours a week support each child’ and what happens to the remaining 20 hours?

I have asked a few questions. Where does interpreters fit in? How will a deaf child ask the teacher or their peers a question? How can the deaf child ask the laptop please wait so he/she can look up in the dictionary for the meaning of a word not known? How can the deaf child ask for clarification when he/she see a word that have many concepts? How can the deaf child learn emotion intelligent through a lap top? Why do we want to isolate the deaf child more by cutting off all means of communication? And yet to learn their answer of my questions.

I am concerned and I am trying not to jump hoops I am disappointed to see the moral of the company is about business and not the deaf community. I am disappointed to learn there was no consultant among the deaf community about Ai Media. I am concerned that deaf children will miss out so much on natural communication and self worthiness.

Should I be called a ‘whinger’ because of my personal opinion of Ai Media or should I be allow to speak out because I am a deaf mother of deaf children whom I want them to succeed in education by using interpreters instead of live captioning.


2 thoughts on “Opinion – by Rebekah Rose-Mundy

  1. I think that I missed the original post or show, so forgive me if I’m missing anything here…

    I think that any device/method/technology that is available is great! There is always someone who may benefit from it. We can’t say that a certain technology will not benefit all deaf children because all deaf children are different. It’s important to look at the individual child, and decide what they may need. Perhaps they just need an interpreter. Perhaps they need an interpreter with captions. Perhaps they just need captions. Perhaps they don’t need anything.

    It is however, important to keep in mind that the child is the one who knows best what accommodations they need. I remember my teachers and parents telling me that my FM was important for me to learn. It had so much static, it was harder to understand with the FM than without! But nobody listened to me and I started to just turn it off, and fooled everybody into thinking it was on.

    We all know how frustrating it is for someone else to try to tell us what accommodations we need. We really need to support each other in advocating for what accommodations we need for ourselves.

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