Today’s world is changing so quickly that technology is now a major force for justice and social change. 

The relationship between assistive technology and the human rights of the deaf, particularly in North Carolina, is among the most significant instances of this shift. 

The advancement of sign language rights and linguistic diversity has been made possible by the use of assistive devices. 

In this blog post, we will examine the crucial part assistive technology plays in fostering linguistic diversity and advancing the rights of North Carolina’s deaf community.

The Diversity of Sign Languages

Sign language is a broad spectrum of languages that differ from one place to another, not a single, universal language. While American Sign Language (ASL) is widely used in North Carolina, it is not the only sign language in the world. Deaf communities use more than 300 different sign languages worldwide. It is essential to promote and maintain these languages in order to maintain linguistic diversity and cultural heritage.

Assistive Devices and Communication

Assistive technology is essential for the deaf community to close the communication gap with the hearing community. In order to improve communication and the quality of life for those who are deaf, these devices are really helpful. In North Carolina, the following technologies and assistive devices are making a significant impact:

Video Relay Services (VRS): These services allow deaf people to use sign language when making phone calls. By connecting users with interpreters, they enable communication between spoken language speakers and sign language users. 

With the use of this technology, the deaf community can interact with hearing people and obtain necessary services. 

TTY (Text Telephone): Through the use of TTY devices, people who are deaf can type and read text messages while on the phone. For the deaf community, this technology has changed everything by offering an effective and easily accessible form of communication.

Mobile Apps and Software: To improve communication for the deaf community, smartphone applications, and computer software have been created. 

These apps come with features like speech-to-text conversion, sign language recognition, and real-time captioning. 

Allowing the use of sign language in digital settings, not only promotes linguistic diversity but also enhances communication.

Cochlear implants and hearing aids: These two important technologies enable some deaf people to access spoken language, even though they are not exactly assistive tools for sign language users. These tools are essential to ensuring that everyone in North Carolina has the option to communicate in their preferred language, be it English or ASL.

Preserving Sign Language Rights

One of the most important aspects of linguistic diversity and the deaf community’s human rights is their ability to use sign language. The right to communicate, learn, and express one’s culture through sign language is included in the category of sign language rights. 

In North Carolina, as in many other parts of the world, the recognition and protection of sign language rights have gained significant momentum.

Legal Recognition: Like many other U.S. states, North Carolina offers legal protections for the use of ASL and acknowledges it as a valid language. 

The rights of people who use sign language have been significantly strengthened by this acknowledgment.

Deaf Education: By encouraging bilingual education in both ASL and English, efforts have been made in North Carolina to give deaf children a high-quality education. This method promotes linguistic diversity while enabling students to become proficient in two languages.

Interpreter Services: The state has also taken action to guarantee that interpreters who understand sign language are accessible in a variety of contexts, including public events, court cases, and medical facilities. 

This guarantees that people who are deaf can fully participate in society and helps close communication gaps.

Advocacy and Awareness: Deaf advocacy groups in North Carolina have been leading the charge in promoting the use of ASL and bringing attention to the rights of those who use sign language. Their work has been instrumental in increasing the state’s linguistic diversity.

The Technological Revolution

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Technological developments have had a significant influence on North Carolina’s efforts to support linguistic diversity and sign language rights. 

The deaf community now has more opportunities to engage in all facets of life thanks to the advancement of communication technologies and assistive devices.

Access to Information: The North Carolina deaf community now benefits greatly from the internet. 

People can access information in their preferred language, such as ASL videos, sign language tutorials, and educational materials, with the aid of assistive technologies.

Social Media and Online Communities: To connect, share experiences, and fight for their rights, Deaf people have made the most of social media platforms and online communities. The availability of these digital spaces has given deaf people more ways to maintain their linguistic diversity and express their cultural identities.

Communication Equality: The deaf community now has more equitable access to communication thanks in large part to technology. With the introduction of video conferencing platforms that offer integrated captioning and sign language interpretation services, everyone can now communicate and work remotely.

The Future of Sign Language Rights in North Carolina

Even though there has been a lot of progress, there is still more to be done in North Carolina to support linguistic diversity and the rights of sign language users. 

Thanks to continuous advocacy efforts and technological advancements, the future is very promising.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Developments in these fields could improve the understanding and identification of sign language, increasing the deaf community’s access to effective and efficient communication.

Inclusivity in Education: Linguistic diversity and the rights of sign language users will be protected through sustained efforts to provide deaf children with high-quality education, including bilingual instruction in both ASL and English.

Advocacy and Awareness: Deaf advocacy groups will remain essential in advancing education, awareness, and rights related to sign language. Their voices will be amplified through cooperation with other human rights and social justice organizations.


It is impossible to overestimate the contribution assistive technology and devices have made to North Carolina’s linguistic diversity and advancement of sign language rights. 

Recognizing how technology and human rights intersect is crucial as we advance in the digital age, especially for the deaf community. 

By carefully utilizing these resources, we can keep building a more just and inclusive community where everyone is able to communicate in their native tongue and linguistic variety is honored.

For those who are looking for additional support, Unspoken Language Services offers interpreting services to help bridge the communication gap between the deaf and hearing communities. 

Thumbnail Photo Credit to: Photo by nappy