When Senator John Fetterman appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on October 11, 2023, he immediately acknowledged the iPad on the desk.
Explain to the audience what’s that technology we’re using right here for this interview.
Yeah, I am. I’m so grateful that after the stroke — I had some lingering processing auditory issues, and now, sometimes, I use this captioning. And that is nothing different than having glasses like you have.
So I actually can process everything, but sometimes the language gets kind of lost in translation, so I use this when I’m able to interact, and it really made me a fully, more empathetic person.
I never thought about captioning before I had the stroke, and now I realize that I have to be an advocate for anyone with a disability to have the kind of technology that allows them to fully participate in society.
In other words, small changes allow people with communication differences to participate in work and social situations fully.
Fetterman’s Senate Bill
A few weeks earlier, Senator Fetterman introduced bill S. 2904 “to ensure that all individuals with significant expressive communication disabilities have access to the augmentative and alternative communication the individuals need to interact with others, in order to learn, work, socialize, and take advantage of all aspects of life in the United States.”
The bill, co-authored by Senators Bob Casey, Jr., Bernie Sanders, John Fetterman, and Ed Markey, aims to eliminate the discrimination and isolation people with communication challenges — like aphasia — experience by providing training to individuals that would include best communication practices.
The bill would also provide technical assistance for people who need it to improve their quality of life and allow for full participation in the workplace or day-to-day life.