Re: Deaf members & Zoom
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2021 09:30:17 -0700 (PDT)
On Apr 25, 2021, at 12:02 PM, Allison Tom <allisonrtom [at]> wrote:
> So very many things are more accessible to those of us with disabilities
> with zoom. I'm certainly looking forward to a more normal life, should that
> day ever come, but I know that in person meetings will return and my access
> will diminish.

I think many of us feel that way. I’ve been searching for ideas on how to keep 
Zoom meetings. For the whole group they are much more accessible and everyone 
can hear. I think people who have voice readers on their computers can also use 
them. Unless members of your group are trained to actually speak up, one third 
to half the meeting can be indecipherable. 

The one team it doesn’t work well for is a group working on amending 20 year 
old bylaws. We have also been trying to work on drafts on Google Docs and 
OneDrive so everyone can enter edits. The layers of technology and the 
technology tolerance of members of the group have been a hindrance. Team 
meetings are so much more around about projects and logistics.

Membership meetings are more about sharing policies or reports followed by Q&A. 
Less back and forth discussion. Aimless discussion is almost nil now. We have 
more people attending Zoom membership meetings than we had before. And more 
children check in. The ability to mute your microphone means children and 
households don’t have to be silent. And you can still check on the bread in the 
oven even if you are in a meeting.

On deaf members — we have and have had a number of residents with various 
abilities and inabilities. If we haven’t had that experience we may not realize 
how resourceful people are at finding and using resources. Much more dependent 
on community support are people who are newly or temporarily inconvenienced. 
They often have not a clue what they even need.

We also forget about those with abilities that are beyond those of others. We 
don’t think of this as a “handicap” but it does mean having unused potential 
and feelings of deprivation as well. 

Funny story about resources: Neighbor #1 was very curious about Neighbor #2 who 
seemed to have a roommate no one knew about. They were never seen coming or 
going. Never attended any events. And were never mentioned by Neighbor #2. But 
every morning they were on the other side of the wall having long conversations 
or reading books aloud. 

Eventually she discovered that Neighbor #2 used a reader on his computer. A 
happy female voice that updated him on the events of the last 24 hours.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.