As ADA marks its 30th Anniversary, having audio description is a milestone

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Courtesy of ADA National Network (adata.org)



When Michele Spitz of Woman Of Her Word provides audio/voice description for the screen, big and small, she realizes how much has changed for people with disabilities. The impact audio as well as captions makes for those with hearing and visual disabilities is crucial. That’s why she was eager to help get news out about the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

July 26 marked 30 years since the Bush Administration signed the ADA into law. Accessibility for all people living with some form of disability is a game-changer, to say the least. Among those who realize and cherish this important milestone the most is Spitz. She has been dedicated in her outreach; as this has become a mission.

Audio and caption description is just one of many ways in which accessibility for people with disabilities has paved the way for greater independence. Yet, perhaps few people realize how much of an impact audio description and closed captioning has made. Major networks that have done this is a profound change, helping literally millions of people.

In the work Spitz does inclusion and bridging gaps, is key. Especially so in the areas of the arts and entertainment; for Spitz this is empowering. She sees the impact it makes upon the community in just about every aspect of daily life.

Painting a picture with words to supplement visual media, is a tremendous help to people with vision loss. As our visual media increases, the need for descriptive and audio narratives does also. According to the CDC, approximately 12 million people in the United States have some form of vision impairment.

Over the past 7 years, Spitz has narrated 65 media projects including films, museum tours, fundraising videos, educational videos, and audio newsletters that provide access to information for low vision and blind audiences and patrons.

Helping to provide a separate narration track available in movie theaters via headsets, TV broadcast, etc. Michele Spitz of A Woman of Her Word is dedicated to bringing the arts and culture to all of the community, especially those with disabilities. Photo courtesy of Michele Spitz and A Woman of Her Word

Helping to provide a separate narration track available in movie theaters via headsets, TV broadcast, streaming, VOD, DVD and Blu-ray, and mobile apps Is essential in opening up the arts and various forms of culture to everyone. “My life’s work is my heart’s work” she says.  In addition to her professional expertise Spitz is a dedicated philanthropist.

Because of her conviction that no physical or financial limitation should be a barrier to participating in education and cultural pursuits, Spitz has been working tirelessly supporting projects meant to strengthen the mind and uplift the soul.

Sine 2012 she began her dedicated philanthropic journey of creating and launching various outreach programs. Much of this so far has been in underwriting and providing grants to organizations and events like Lighthouse for the blind, SF Jazz, Broadway dreams, The miracle project, and the deaf west theater, just to name a few.

In the coming weeks celebrations of the ADA will be commemorated in many places. To learn more about the ADA and upcoming events visit the ADA National Network website.