By David Bahar
A New York Daily News article  revealed continuing problems in the New York Police Department with respect to the accommodations it provides to the deaf and hard-of-hearing. As a public entity, the NYPD has obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide qualified individuals with a disability with effective communication. For deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals that use American Sign Language, the definition of effective communication can include a sign language interpreter.
However, for both Diana Williams and Robert Rapa, sign language interpreters were not provided during their initial encounters with the police, or during their time at the police station. Surprisingly, the officer arresting Diana went so far as to indicate on the arrest report that an interpreter was not needed, and that she did not have a disability.
Check out this case in the New York Times about police officers forced off the job due the City’s wayward anti-hearing aid policy. The story classically illustrates mainstream misunderstanding about hearing loss and the sort of blatant employment discrimination that can result:
Apparently, the NYPD inexplicably began enforcing a ban on hearing aids in 2009, insisting that requiring a hearing aid device somehow impairs a police officer from fully preforming his or her duties. The ill-found policy required recruits to pass standard hearing tests without hearing aids. Officers with hearing loss who couldn’t meet the standard without their hearing aids were off the force.
Since its inception in 1975, Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) has provided sign language interpreting services. This has been a fundamental part of who we are as an organization throughout the span of our company’s history. CSD’s market presence for ASL interpreting has expanded dramatically over the years from a service that was locally focused in southeastern South Dakota to one that has a nationwide scale and reach today.
By Ryan Hutchison
Deaf advocates worked tirelessly to pass this bill for the past six years not because requiring certification fits into some abstract political agenda but because the number of unqualified interpreters taking work across Texas is increasing and it’s hurting Deaf Texans.
It is hard to gain an appreciation of why such a bill is needed if you’ve never used a sign language interpreter, but if you’ve ever spent time in a foreign country where you don’t understand the language, you’re getting close. Imagine you live in that country and your child has been diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening disease, and the doctor doesn’t speak any English.
DEAF, Inc. is our first partner in providing interpreting services through Vineya. We are very proud of this partnership because they are an organization that shares our values in deaf empowerment and providing quality interpreters.
CSD’s Chief of Sales and Marketing Pat Myers visited the Deaf Society of New South Wales, a wonderful, like-minded organization that has served the needs of deaf and hard of hearing individuals in Australia for over 100 years.
Archive for May, 2015
2015 > May