Deaf and hearing impaired score a win

08 Apr 2009

By The Record

Deaf and hard of hearing people and their families have a win with diocesan material.                                                         

Fr Paul Pitzen, who lobbied hard for deaf and hard of hearing people and their families to have access to diocesan DVD material, speaks at a diocesan youth event last year in this file photo. .

When parishes across Perth view a special DVD on the weekend of May 23-24 launching the final appeal for the completion of St Mary’s Cathedral, the deaf will be able to view it with captions and signing.
The inclusion of captions to the words spoken by presenters such as Archbishop Barry Hickey and Monsignor Michael Keating has excited those particularly conscious of the needs of the hearing-impaired. “When I informed the Deaf Community that this production would include both signing and captioning to fully include Deaf and Hard of Hearing people, the room exploded with grins and smiles and hand-waving,” said Fr Paul Pitzen, chaplain for the Catholic Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Perth.
They also see the inclusion as something of a win.
When the first DVD was released in 2007 for the St Mary’s Cathedral Building Appeal, deaf and hard of hearing people were unable to hear and see the text.
It happened again in 2008 for the second year of the appeal.
Fr Pitzen lobbied steadily for the inclusion of text and signing in the appeal DVDs, arguing that the DVDs excluded the deaf from active participation in this historic project.
Each time, Fr Pitzen requested any future promotional material include captioning and signing, to ensure those with hearing impairment were afforded the opportunity of full and active participation. This year his efforts have been rewarded.
“I am delighted this DVD includes captioning and signing, which will benefit and embrace Deaf and Hard of Hearing people within our community,” Cathedral Appeal Manager Brett Mendez said.