Everything You Wanted to Know About CART Writing - Part
By Cheryl Heppner
Editor: The folks at NVRC recently hosted (along with the local HLAA
and ALDA chapters) a panel of CART experts to provide the latest
information on this crucial technology. Cheryl did her usual outstanding
job of writing it up and sharing it with interested folks. Here's her
report. You are welcome to share this information, but please be sure to
This is part five of eleven parts.
Here is the last prepared question. Chuck has already given a bit of
the answer. To preface it a little bit, I find that sometimes when I am
watching the CART, there is an interruption or something. It becomes clear
that the CART writer can't really hear what's going on, but I won't know
that until after the words either start to not appear. I can't know what
the CART person hears.
In some cases I've seen the CART writer stop and ask for something to
be repeated, and in some cases I've seen the CART writer wait for
permission from the client. The question is, does your agency have a
policy up front that says what a writer will do when he or she can't hear
the proceedings? And if so, do you communicate that policy to the client
I think that the basic thing you need to know is that, as Chris said,
communication is essential between you as the CART writer. Ideally what
would happen is that you would have that conversation up front. If I were
the CART provider I would say to you, "I see my role as being one of
accommodation, and I am going to follow your lead. Tell me what you would
like me to do in this situation." I would be proactive about that sort of
That's not always possible to do, because you walk into a situation
where you immediately have to sit down and you've not met the person or
you may not even be aware of who the client is. Many times we'll be asked
to provide service, and we don't know for whom we are providing that
service. And just as likely we'll go in, provide the service for someone
we're expecting to, and then we'll have five or six other people come up
and say, "I'm sure glad you were here because I have a hearing loss and
that was very helpful."
I recognize that it can be sensitive for people to reveal that sort of
information. We do not have a policy, but it's a good point, and one that
I should take back and probably develop. But as I say, we rely on the
communication between the person providing and the person receiving the
accommodation to try to take care of as much of that as we can up front.
Again, communication is key there. We don't have a particular policy. I
guess it makes sense, but I think that's the sort of thing that you want
to be on a case-by-case basis. You want the communication between the CART
user and the CART provider. It has to be a relationship for the user to
get the most out of it as they possibly can. We want it to be a worthwhile
experience. That's why we're there. So we need the feedback.
Well I have to say it depends because I've been in situations in the
classroom where I had one student that didn't want anyone to know that he
was deaf. If I sat on the other side of the room or in the back of the
room, that would have been perfect. But sometimes he would turn up his
hearing aid so loud that it would start making noises. I would tell him
that, but he never acknowledged me when I was in the classroom. He would
sit somewhere else, put a computer in front of him just like all of the
In that case I would definitely not interrupt. If I am in a situation
where I've worked with the person a lot, then I'll tell them on breaks.
I'll say, "You have to speak up. You have to slow down." I'll do whatever
I can. And sometimes I will write the person who I am working for, the
customer, I will write them a note and say, "These people are talking way
too fast", and it depends on the situation. In a big group of scientists,
you do not want to be interrupting them. So you make it clear up front how
it's going to be.
I was in court the other day, and in the courtroom, do you not
interrupt. They do not like that at all. You have to do whatever goes on
in the situation. You have to make it clear ahead of time and you just
have to do the best that you can.
As a customer, but not necessarily the person who hired the CART
provider, I'm never sure what permission I'm given to say to the CART
provider, "Hey, you know you can interrupt." If I know that I have
permission from you to say, "please interrupt if you can't hear," then I
have to first wait for to you hear, or not to hear, before I know what's
We're going to take a break now unless to get more questions from the
audience, who have been listening to this all morning and thinking about
their own questions. So is there anything you would like to say?
I just thought about one other thing because I was told, by a show of
hands, there are educators in the room or people associated in the schools
who may be interested in that arena. One thing that came to mind was the
preparation for integrating this service in your school, and how that
communication needs to take place between the office of student
disabilities and the CART writer.
One thing that happens to me, and I am sure it has happened to Karen,
too, in the classroom, is people who are hearing will come up to me and
say, "Oh, is there a transcript? Can I get that transcript from you?" And
I've been offered some fairly nice cash for those transcripts, too.
Those are the kinds of things that as an educational institution you
need to be aware of, and set up the rules and parameters for up front. Not
only are you going to agree to provide the transcript to those for whom
the accommodation is being provided, but obviously we would not provide it
to the entire classroom. Even that provision you need to make clear to us.
Are we entitled to release it to the student? Does it go through you? Are
there no transcripts available at all? There are all sorts of ethical,
professional decisions to be made about whether the transcript provides an
unfair advantage to a student who has a hearing loss over and above the
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