ADA Quick Tips – Sign Language Interpreters | adata.org
TITLE III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) makes it illegal for any business, building or other place that is open to the public to discriminate against people with disabilities. Such places are called “public accommodations” and include restaurants, hotels, theaters, doctors’ offices, pharmacies, retail stores, museums, libraries, parks, private schools, and day care centers.
In order to provide equal access, a public accommodation must provide auxiliary aids and services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing when needed. Examples of auxiliary aids and services include qualified interpreters, note takers, and written materials. The type of auxiliary aid or service provided will depend on what is needed for a specific situation.
EXAMPLES OF EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION
1. H, a person who is deaf, mainly uses sign language to communicate. H stops by a new car showroom to look at the latest models. The car dealer would be able to communicate general information about the cars using brochures, exchanging notes by pen and notepad, or taking turns at a computer terminal keyboard. If H becomes serious about making a purchase, a qualified interpreter may be necessary because buying a car is a complicated process.
2. H goes to his doctor for regular blood pressure and weight check-ups with the nurse. Exchanging notes and using gestures are likely all that is needed for this type of check-up. When H has a mild stroke and returns to his doctor for a full exam and tests, he asks for a sign-language interpreter. The doctor should arrange for a qualified interpreter because this type of visit is more complicated.
HOW DO YOU FIND AN INTERPRETER?
The National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) (link is external)hosts an online database or call 703.838.0030 (voice) or 703.838.0459 (TTY). You can also seek referrals from your state office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, local chapter of the National Association of the Deaf, or from the person requesting the interpreter. Start looking for an interpreter as soon as the need arises. It can be hard to find a qualified interpreter on short notice.