One thing some people don’t realize when they’re out—and even if they run into a deaf person while they’re out and about—how difficult some aspects can become if no one’s prepared. They don’t see that we need help in one way or another—ASL interpreter, oral interpreter, hearing dog (which we would supply), etc.
They don’t realize that, if they (meaning a business or office or doctor’s appointment), need to communicate with a deafie, they need not only to schedule one (*whichever the deaf person requests), but it must be at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting or appt. to give the agency enough time to find an interpreter for the appointment.
That doesn’t always happen with me (at least). Perhaps I’m just lucky. They say God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. I must be one big shot in the bag. Why do I say that? I cannot even begin to tell you how often Kenny takes me a long-been scheduled appt and we find no ‘terp being expected.
So, what does one do in these situations? Sure, depending on the time of day, once could call an emergency interpreter and wait around for an hour or more—only then needing to find an opening for that doctor.
The several times this has happened to me, it’s always the same thing on my end.
- Ask them what time the interpreter is scheduled for. (Often the answer is never).
- Literally and loudly communicate my total disappointment the place is to be seeing me.
- Then reschedule leaving it clear this is no to happen again.
- Go home ticked off and wait for yet another call regarding arranging a ‘terp. (I’ll believe it when I see it.)
There is one more option, but it is NOT recommended—to ask the hearing friend/family you’re there with if they’d stand in and interpret.
Let me straight with you—that is technically illegal because it is not their full language, they don’t have the schooling needed to do this, the appt is supposed to be confidential, and they don’t have a certificate. So, Kenny has been asked/forced to interpret for me at several therapy and psychiatric and medical meeting and lotsg of other places (dentists, discussions, etc). And Kenny does it, but he’s pretty ticked-off. He wants money for his efforts—with or without his certificate. And I totally agree.
My point? Respect deaf people’s needs for accommodations. Be sure to follow through with setting them up to fill their needs. After all, being deaf and surrounded by hearing people doesn’t make for a comfortable situation.
Just my opinion.