Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are there laws pertaining to the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing receiving interpreting services?
Yes, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and any state laws which apply, impose requirements on various public and private facilities, including most health care offices and hospitals. These laws prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities, including depriving them of the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations of any place of public accommodation.

Q: What is the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
The Act is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. It affords similar protections against discrimination to Americans with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made discriminationbased on race, religion, sex, national origin and other characteristics illegal. Disability is defined by the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) as "a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity."

Q: Is sign language universal?
No. Just as hearing people in different countries speak different languages, so do Deaf people around the world sign different languages. A language is a mirror of its culture. In Italy, Deaf persons communicate in Italian Sign Language, in France, French Sign Language and in England, British Sign Language is used.

Q: How long does it take to become fluent in American Sign language (ASL)?
As with any other language, it takes time. American Sign Language (ASL) is a visual language and the brain will be processing linguist information through the eyes, not the ears. Everyone learns at their own speed.

Q: Can anyone who knows sign language be an interpreter?
No. The biggest misconception by the general public is that anyone who has taken classes in American Sign Language (ASL) or signed English (or knows the manual alphabet) is qualified to be an interpreter. A Signer is a person who may be able to communicate conversationally with Deaf persons, but does not possess the skills and expertise to accurately interpret or function as an Interpreter. To become an Interpreter, it is necessary not only to be bilingual and bicultural, but to have the ability to mediate meanings across languages and cultures, both simultaneously and consecutively. This takes years of training and practice. Qualified Interpreters need to have some level of state qualification or certification.

Kluwin, T.N., & Gaustad, M.G. (1991). Predicting family communication choices. American Annals of the Deaf, 136, 28-33

Myers, J.E., & Bartee, J.W. (1992). Improvements in the signing skills of hearing parents of deaf children. American Annals of the Deaf. 137, 257-260

Make a Free Website with Yola.