Subtitles against disability discrimination

Subtitles against disability discrimination

Subtitles may be of great aid in numerous situations. Apart from helping healthy people to better understand spoken phrases, sadly, they appear to be the only way for deaf or hearing-impaired people to get the message. And not only for them! Closed captions can comfortably solve some other communication problems for people with autism, dyslexia or attention deficit disorder.


Sound and noise sensitivity is among autism’s many symptoms. A barking dog, ticking clock or squeaky door hinges might be quite bothering for autism diagnosed people. Not to mention a hectic football match or a lifelike documentary about parrots on the TV, for example. Do you reckon that autistic individuals are odd and can’t understand the emotions of others? Or are they ‘cold’ and closed for communication? Just on the contrary – they do want to be part of the surrounding world! Just in a very special and subtle way.

Closed captions may be a fit-for-purpose solution if you need to mute the sound and watch a movie, football match or cartoons together with pals who object to noise.

Glamorous and clamorous. Parrots – as much as any other noisy creatures – can be an extreme irritant for people sensitive of sound.


Dyslexia is primarily associated with trouble reading, reading disorder or reading disability. It’s a common condition that affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language. It has absolutely nothing to do with lack of intelligence, low vision or laziness.

Can you try to guess what’s in common between Steven Spielberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Keira Knightley, Jamie Oliver and Cher? Correct, they were all diagnosed with dyslexia.

People with dyslexia experience difficulties in understanding complex ideas. Sometimes they just need more time to work through the information. They may also need a different way to process it, e.g. listening to an audiobook instead of reading one or watching a video with same language subtitles.


Do you know someone who suffers from inattention (moves from one uncompleted activity to another, lacks focus, has troubles staying on topic while talking, not listening to others, etc.) or hyperactivity (has problems playing quietly or doing quiet hobbies,  is always “on the go”, fidgets and squirms when seated, etc.)? Well, these are the most typical symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly abbreviated as ADHD. How can subtitles help here? The answer is apparent: in subtitled videos one and the same information reaches our brains in 3 different ways:

  • Visually (the video itself).
  • Orally (the recorded speech).
  • Textually (the subtitles).

Undoubtedly, visual-oral-textual presenting is much more efficient than just a simple motion picture or verbal explanation. And trust us, it works not only for people with ADHD but pretty much for all of us – particularly when we want to stay focused and not miss the forest for the trees.


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