Providing an Interpreter
Many situations do require an interpreter. There are differences between a 'qualified' interpreter and a 'certified' interpreter. The ADA requires that in the event an interpreter is needed, a qualified interpreter be provided. A 'qualified' interpreter should meet the prerequisite skills and be able to successfully communicate with the individual with a disability requiring the interpreter. Today, many states now require that interpreters be certified. This can include extensive training and some type of examination to meet state requirements for certification.
When a request for an interpreter comes into a program, it is important that the program coordinator talk with the participant about his or her specific needs for communication during the program. What type of interpreter is needed? During the initial contact with the participant who is deaf, the program coordinator may learn that the individual does not know American Sign Language; instead, he signs exact English. This is important new information that will help identify a qualified interpreter that specializes in signed exact English.
Many recreation providers are concerned with finding a sign language interpreter on short notice. Consider implementing a policy for advance notification or request for services. Promote the notification policy in marketing materials such as program brochures, flyers and Web sites. For example, to schedule a tour with a sign language interpreter, indicate in the program brochure for the participant to notify the organization 48 to 72 hours prior to his or her visit. This advance notice also allows time for gathering information on exactly what the person's needs are and to make arrangements for the interpreter.
Sign language interpreters can be contacted through an agency such as the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or a local Center for Independent Living. Many agencies have interpreters on call 24 hours a day; however, fees may be higher on short notice. In preparation for the possibility of providing an interpreter, agencies should be contacted to establish a procedure for scheduling an interpreter. Important information to inquire about may include:
- Types of interpreters, i.e., American Sign Language, Exact English
- Levels of interpreters, i.e., Certifications
- Any fees associated with providing the interpreter
The Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) in Northbrook, Illinois, maintains a core list of interpreters it calls when notified of the need for an interpreter. According to Dawn Schaefer, manager of inclusion services, NSSRA attempts to provide one consistent interpreter for each participant throughout an entire season when possible. Often an interpreter can be provided on a day's notice. However, in case of an emergency, NSSRA relies on the Chicago Hearing Society, which has a larger pool of interpreters to access at a higher cost.
|Laurie is signing to a girl in front of a water sprinkler at a park.|