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24th May, 2022

Rugby teen's bright idea bringing magic of movies to deaf children

A TRANSATLANTIC Rugby-educated teen is bringing the fun of films to deaf people worldwide.

Mariella Satow spent much of lockdown developing the new free Google Chrome extension ‘SignUp’, which adds sign language captioning to movies on the Disney+ streaming service so that deaf children can also experience the joy of the silver screen.

The 17-year-old, who is in her final year of A-Levels, has dual UK-US citizenship and lives in the UK – and developed SignUp with the help of deaf people and volunteer interpreters while stuck in New York because of Covid travel restrictions.

She wanted to do something to help deaf children who use sign language and who find written subtitles challenging.

SignUp provides on-screen sign language alongside children’s films on Disney+, helping deaf children who can’t read or keep up with subtitles to enjoy the magic of Disney.

Hardworking Mariella said: “I wanted to develop SignUp because many young people from the deaf community find written captions non-descriptive, or even worse, completely absent from media sites.

‘SignUp is a fun way for kids and adults to enjoy mainstream movies – and it’s even a great learning tool for sign language students too.”

She has been praised by Warwickshire County Council’s children and families spokesman, Coun Jeff Morgan.

He said: “We can sometimes forget about the experiences of others when it’s not directly in front of us. Mariella has opened up a world for so many deaf children across Warwickshire and beyond, and all at the young age of 17.

“I want to formally thank and congratulate her for helping to create, not only a Child Friendly Warwickshire, but a child friendly world.”

Child Friendly Warwickshire is a programme designed to make the county a great place to grow up and learn, where children and young people are seen and heard and have access to exciting experiences and opportunities to fulfil their potential and realise their dreams.

Coun Morgan added: “Mariella, and her development of SignUp, embodies the goals of the programme, to ensure Warwickshire is a place where all children and young people are heard, safe, healthy, skilled and happy.”

Visit www.signupcaptions.com to find out more about SignUp, which will be available in the UK soon. Visit www.instagram.com/signupcaptions to keep up-to-date on new films being added to the service.

Visit www.childfriendlywarwickshire.co.uk for more information on Child Friendly Warwickshire.

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