“Switched at Birth” Breaks New Ground With All ASL Episode

Switched at Birth Cast
Switched at Birth Cast

Constance Marie’s on-air daughter, Katie Leclerc and Purple Communications™ Debut American Sign Language (ASL) Only Commercial During First ASL Episode of Switched at Birth

Premieres Monday, March 4 at 8:00 PM ET/PT

Rocklin, CA- Switched at Birth’s Katie Leclerc is the new face – and more importantly – the  ASL-fluent ‘hands’ for Purple Communications, a leading provider of video relay service (VRS) and interpreting services for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. Leclerc will make her Purple debut in a TV commercial aired entirely in ASL. Might we add that Leclerc’s role in Switched at Birth is Regina Vasquez’ daughter portrayed by Constance Marie, and Ivonne Coll is grandmother on the show. So cool to see a Latino family integrated with an Anglo family trying to make it work through all the trials and tribulations they face.

“We’re delighted to be working with Katie as Purple enters the next generation in delivering communications services to people who are deaf, as well as those who interact with them on the telephone,” said Purple Communications CEO and President John Ferron. “We thought the innovation of an all-ASL episode of Switched at Birth – never done before on TV – was the perfect venue to announce our partnership with Katie and reflects the innovative spirit of Purple’s new revolutionary products and services in 2013.”

Leclerc says, “I am excited to work with Purple and provide a bridge between the hearing and non-hearing worlds. Communications access for all is a philosophy I share with Purple and dramatize on screen through my work on Switched at Birth.”

The challenges of being deaf in a hearing world– and f being hearing parents meeting the deaf daughter they never knew they had– is the complicated subject on Switched at Birth. It’s a tale of how teens Bay (Vanessa Marano) and Daphne (Katie Leclerc) were accidentally raised by each other’s biological parents. The subjects include that Daphne was raised in a Latino family, her mother Regina Vasquez

Leclerc learned to sign when she was 17. Together with her sister — an ASL teacher — and her father, Leclerc suffers from a genetic inner ear disorder called Meniere’s disease, which can cause sporadic hearing loss.

The commercial spot will debut during an episode of the ABC Family drama Switched at Birth that is being broadcast entirely in American Sign Language (ASL), a first for a scripted series on mainstream television.

“Being able to communicate is a right that I believe everyone should enjoy, which is why I am excited to educate both hearing and deaf communities about Purple’s products and services. Purple brings the two communities together using technology as an equalizer. I look forward to working together with them to ensure that equal communications access is readily available for the more than 36 million deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans, as well as their families, friends and colleagues.”

In an interview, show creator Lizzy Weiss was asked at what phase of developing the series did she decide Daphne would be deaf, and she replied, “In 2009, I sold the concept of two families discovering that their daughters were accidentally switched at birth. After I wrote the first outline, the network suggested that we up the stakes even more by making one of the girls different in some way so that the family with resources might feel even more disconnected from her… instantly I said ‘What if one of the girls is deaf?’ I had taken a class called Theater of the Deaf in college… so I had a bit of background in ASL, deaf culture, etc.”

Official ABC Family Switched at Birth website: www.abcfamily.com/switchedatbirth.

About Purple Communications
Purple Communications provides a high-quality video relay service (VRS) available from multiple platforms – desktop, laptop and smartphone. VRS allows individuals who use sign language to communicate via video conference and a video interpreter (VI). The VI voices/relays the signed conversation in real-time to both deaf and hearing individuals. For more information, visit www.purple.us.

About Telecommunications Relay Service (TRS)
Created by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Telecommunication Relay Service (TRS) is a telephone service that allows persons with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive telephone calls. There are a variety of types of relay service including video (VRS), text and captioning services. TRS is available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. territories for local and/or long distance calls at no additional cost to the consumer. The Telecommunications Relay Services program is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and providers of such services are compensated for the costs of providing TRS from either a state or a federal fund. For more information related to TRS, visit www.fcc.gov/guides/telecommunications-relay-service-trs.



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Elia Esparza is a leading expert in communications and journalism targeting the burgeoning Hispanic market and has produced and written dozens of articles. President and CEO of Always Evolving PR and a Communications Specialist, Elia, incorporates her 18 years experience in the areas of entertainment and education public relations, and marketing. promotions, market research and translations (Eng/Span).