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Communicating with deaf customers in corona time

Career advisor/worker consultant Iris Aaldijk talks about video calls with WhatsApp and a sign language interpreter.

Usually we’re talking to a customer. Also with deaf customers and then we use sign language. Now we have to have a conversation remotely and that is a bit different. For example, we don’t make a phone call. Not all customers have Skype. If they already have it, they often have the ‘regular’ Skype and then have to perform an action to communicate with us with Skype for Business. That action they have to perform is also a bit difficult to make clear remotely. We can’t just show it to them. This is because the explanation of what they have to do is very linguistic and many deaf customers have a different language development. Dutch Sign Language (NGT) is their native language and not our written and spoken Dutch language. NGT is the entirety of gestures and facial expressions and has a completely different grammar. In addition, a customer must also be computer literate to perform a technical action, so that both Skype versions communicate with each other. So it takes some work. But fortunately there is always WhatsApp. A super invention for deaf people! It is accessible and therefore contact is close by. Video calling via WhatsApp is therefore now the means to communicate with our deaf customers. We see each other and we can use sign language. Even with an interpreter present, because you can have a video call with several people via WhatsApp. How great for our customers and for us. We’ll get there together!

Werkpad is a reintegration company for people with sensory impairments, language developmental disabilities and autism. Werkpad offers help with job search and job retention Werkpad is a collaboration between Bartiméus and Kentalis.

door Iris Aaldijk, Loopbaanbegeleider/Arbeidsconsulent bij Werkpad


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