14 August

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What Is Video Remote Interpreting?

Why do You Need a Video Remote Interpretation Service?

The United States of America is a linguistically diverse country. Each state and city has a number of different people from various ethnic backgrounds who might face life-threatening challenges when they end up in a hospital emergency room. Not only that, the deaf have their own share of anxiety as they are unable to communicate as the doctors are not qualified or trained to understand sign language. There is a clear lack of interpreting services for deaf Americans as declared in a report by the American Sign Language according a report by the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf or RID.

A Means to Establish Better Communication

The demand for a flawless interpreter has outweighed the supply for a long time. However, Video Remote Interpretation (VRI) technology allows doctors and medical/healthcare professionals to get instant access to language/sign language interpreters. The VRI relies on using state of the art technology such as cloud computing the internet’s latest buzzword that allows a qualified interpreter to be available when needed particularly in an emergency.

Simple and Easy to Use System

VRI is a new way to interact with patients. The system is relatively easy to use as the user interface and other related software does not require any specialized training. Now hospitals don’t need to have interpreters present all the time. When they require any interpretation services, all they need to do is contact an expert through the Video Remote Interpretation app on a phone or a laptop and begin communicating seamlessly and error free.

Cost Efficient Communication across Different Platforms Anytime

The convenience and accessibility makes video remote interpreting systems a one of a kind language interpretation service that helps hospitals stay productive and increase their patient satisfaction rate. Moreover, an effective VRI system does not require expensive and complex hardware that requires its own separate team of experts to run and manage. The equipment you might need to avail these services are already available at any clinic or hospital. An interpreting agency will require you to share contact details and credentials with each other. These credentials will be helpful in contacting and availing interpretation services as and when required.

The best feature of an effective VRI is its versatility and easy connectivity through any device using any platform 24/7 365 days. Be it iPhone, Android, MAC or PC, all devices are compatible with offering VRI services to different clients. Moreover, expert interpretation services offer error free translation of crucial medical terms and symptoms that will help doctors correctly diagnose and treat a patient.

The Bottom Line

VRI or Video Remote Interpreting systems have enjoyed massive popularity over the years through its affordability and ease of use. Several industries have relied on their services for a long time and now it’s essential for hospitals to make the most of this innovative and convenient communication system. Designed and run by experts, hospitals get a quick and timely response from experts working at a leading interpreting agency. To start using a state-of-art VRI system, go to https://www.frederickinterpreting.com/vri!

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How To Accommodate Your Patients Through Usage of Interpreting Services

Why are Professional Interpretation Services Necessary?

In the US, over 46 million people lack American English proficiency needed to communicate with a medical professional. Imagine yourself in a scenario where you or your loved one isn’t well or you’ve been through a tragic accident. You rush to the hospital but the language barrier between the medical experts and you becomes a hindrance in getting the right treatment. Professional medical interpreting services including sign language interpreting services will essentially assist in bridging this communication gap.

Professional Interpretation Helps Prevent Miscommunication

The medical field has long been plagued with language barriers specifically in serious medical emergencies. The medical staff and doctors need to ask about the nature of the patient’s symptoms and their medical history.

The doctors generally need to rely on the language skills of a friend or a family member, which could lead to misinterpretation, incorrect or misunderstood information in the absence of a language interpretation expert. As the language barrier continues to persist, the need for an experienced interpreter for hospitals and medical care centers is essential.

Interpretation Services and Diagnosis

One of the major concerns among American doctors is that a language barrier may lead to an incorrect diagnosis, which ultimately may lead to the wrong treatment. Incorrect treatment can be fatal in several medical emergencies. A professional language interpretation service is the need of the hour, as it will assist in accurate information sharing concerning the illness, injuries, and other underlying symptoms.

In most cases, particularly in Spanish speaking bilingual American families, children are the only form of reliable communication channel between the doctor and patient. First generation children speak English with fluency compared to their parents. In hospitals, the children usually do the talking and translation. However, the problem is that most young adults are unaware of the actual medical terms and jargon to help the doctors understand the symptoms of their loved ones. Often an 11-year-old or younger child will be acting as an interpreter between the patient and the doctor, which could potentially have dangerous consequences. Children might make critical errors in translation leading to miscommunication.

Improved Patient Satisfaction Rate

With adequate interpreting services at any medical facility or a hospital, the patient, the doctors, and other medical experts will have a smooth communication channel. Relying on mediocre ad-hoc translators and interpreters will be counterproductive with devastating negative effects if the wrong medication is administrated due to miscommunication. When patients get adequate treatment due to effective communication, the patient satisfaction level will improve significantly.

After English, Spanish is the second most common language in the US. Several Spanish-speaking families lack proficiency in English language which prevents them from explaining their injuries and other symptoms to a doctor conveniently. Acquiring or taking assistance from professional Spanish interpreting services will make translating information from Spanish to English simple and easy. It will go a long way in establishing a better care plan for the patient. The hospital will be able to accommodate bilingual patients if a professional interpreter is available. With on-site interpretation services, doctors and patients will be able to communicate effortlessly and exchange information about treatment and symptoms.

Sign Language Interpreter for Better Patient Accommodation

It’s essential for hospitals to have a sign language interpretation expert. Video Remote Interpreting is an easy solution for hospitals who require sign language experts to communicate with the doctor on behalf of the patient. If a hospital receives a deaf patient with a serious life-threatening condition/injury, a sign language expert on instant video call will be able to assist the doctors in extracting essential patient information.

The Bottom Line

Sign language and other interpreting services will allow hospitals to be more accommodating towards the needs of their patients. With the language barrier out of the way, doctors and health care professionals will be able to assist the patient in the best way possible.

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Benefits of Using Interpreting Services

Medical interpreting services is an essential part of every hospital or healthcare facility as the linguistic barrier continues to put a strain on patient-doctor communication. However, many hospitals do not have the appropriate resources on how to provide the best communication services to cater to their patients which in these case they are unable to bridge the communication gap between the doctor and patients. Several studies have indicated that the communication gap between doctors and patients in the US has led to misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment, in some cases the mistakes were fatal. Here are some of the major benefits to be had if you have on-site sign langauge interpreter

Effective Communication between The Patient and Doctor

One of the most important steps in getting an accurate diagnosis and treatment is to acquire patient history. With a language barrier in place, most patients are unable to convey what they are allergic to, what medications they are currently taking, share any other underlying chronic illnesses and much more crucial information. A professional interpreter providing sign language interpreting services will be able to provide effective communication between the patient and doctor as the sign language interpreter will be fluent in the language along with having the medical jargon needed to communicate the medical issue the patient may be having.

Reliable Information

Unfortunately, in some cases, business entities will hire “interpreters” who do not poses the adequate language skills to be able to interpret in such settings nor do they have the required licensing or experience in medical interpreting. If you choose to hire a professional sign language interpreter or any other language interpreter, this will assist the doctors and the other paramedical staff to able to communicate effectively in order to collect reliable information about the condition of the patient.

Communicate Stressful Information or Deliver Bad News

Anything can happen in a hospital either good or fatal. Many bilingual families in the United States rely on their children for interpretation, however, children or other family members might not be the best source for sharing crucial information or delivering bad news to the patients. Children are prone to stress and anxiety if they hear the bad news first. So it’s essential to have a professional onsite interpreter to assist in breaking any disturbing or positive news to the family of the patient. If the hospital does not have an on-site interpreter, they can request a video remote interpreting service provider which shall allow the doctors to deliver news to the patients in the right way. A professional sign language interpreter will be able to communicate news through his or her sign language skills easily and correctly.

Awareness about Religious and Cultural Norms

Professional language interpreters work with people from diverse cultures and religions. They are aware of the cultural and religious beliefs of the patients. This could be helpful in sharing information about the dietary restriction of the patient. Moreover, experts in interpretation and sign language communication play a vital role in understanding the body language of the patient, which could give the doctors more insight into the condition of the patient.

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Lack of Knowledge Regarding Accessibility

Right in the heart of Frederick, Maryland and Washington, DC, we have two of the largest Deaf communities in the world. Frederick is home to Maryland School for the Deaf, a school that teaches over 500+ Deaf students whose primary language is American Sign Language and the only university in the world that is catered to Deaf students, Gallaudet University, is nested in Washington, DC. On average, 2,500 Deaf students proudly call Gallaudet University their college each year with a relatively large community of 4,500+ Deaf people that work at the school and/or reside nearby. The population within is also extremely diverse with a long list of other minority communities that do not use spoken English as their primary language.

This is alarming due to the fact that as a Deaf person who is profoundly deaf and uses American Sign Language as my primary language, it is typical for me to struggle with receiving full access to communication at a place of public accommodation, such as a doctors office. If I am experiencing this, it is safe to assume that other Deaf or Hard of Hearing individuals are too. Not many medical offices are willing to provide an interpreter to ensure that their Deaf or Hard of Hearing patient receives full access to communication and important information regarding health. Some offices view it as a burden than a responsibility as a healthcare provider and practitioner. Then, there are offices that do not even know how to find an interpreter.

Not only that many organizations do not realize how unconditionally vital it is for each Deaf or Hard of Hearing person to receive full access to communication through the usage of an interpreter, it appears that some organizations also do not realize that it is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) law to provide interpreting services for their Deaf patients. More information regarding the ADA laws can be found at https://www.frederickinterpreting.com/adafaq. It is, in fact, a law for public organizations to provide an interpreter for their Deaf or Hard of Hearing patient(s). However, it shouldn’t be viewed as a burden since it comes with benefits.

The ADA FAQ also states that it is possible to claim a tax credit for the expenses incurred on interpreting services. Examples of eligible access expenditures include the necessary and reasonable costs of providing interpreters, and other auxiliary aids; and acquiring or modifying equipment or devices. As amended in 1990, the Internal Revenue Code allows a deduction of up to $15,000 per year for expenses associated with providing interpreting services.

Should your organization cater a Deaf or Hard of Hearing patient in the future, FIA Interpreting has made it very simple to provide interpreting services for Deaf patients. All you need to do is to go to our website and click Request Services at https://www.frederickinterpreting.com/requestservices and one of us will be in touch with you promptly to arrange interpreting services and to answer any questions you may have. The primary mission of FIA Interpreting is to provide full access to communication to both parties in a way that is as simple and affordable as possible. We only provide interpreters who are nationally certified or have passed our rigorous screening to ensure the services of the highest standards and professionalism with guaranteed best rates.

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The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) FAQ and Information

OVERVIEW

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 requires public and private services and employers to be accessible to all people, regardless of disability. When dealing with people who are Deaf, Deaf-blind, or hard of hearing, this means that communication must be accessible.

FAQs

Q1: Which health care providers are covered under the ADA?

A1: Title III of the ADA applies to all private health care providers, regardless of the size of the office or the number of employees. 28 C.F.R 36.104 (http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-36104) It applies to providers of both physical and mental health care. Hospitals, nursing homes, psychiatric and psychological services, offices of private physicians, dentists, and health clinics are included among the health care providers covered by the ADA. If a professional office of a doctor, dentist, or psychologist is located in a private home, the portion of the home used for public purposes (including the entrance) is considered a “place of public accommodation.” 28 C.F.R. 36.207 (http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-36104)

Q2: What is the obligation of health care providers under the ADA for individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing?

A2: Health care providers have a duty to provide auxiliary aids and services that ensure that communication with people who have a hearing loss is as effective as communication with others. C.F.R. 36.306 (http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-97857)

Q3: For whom must a health care provider offer effective communication?

A3: A health care provider must ensure that it can communicate effectively with customers, clients, and other individuals with hearing loss who are seeking or receiving its services. 56 Fed. Reg. at 35565. (http://www.nad.org/issues/health-care/providers/questions-and-answers), (http://www.ct.gov/opapd/cwp/view.asp?a=1756&q=443160) Such individuals may not always be “patients” of the health care provider. For example, if pre-natal classes are offered as a service to both fathers and mothers, a father with a hearing loss must be given auxiliary aids or services that offer him the same opportunity to benefit from the classes as would other fathers. Similarly, a Deaf parent of a hearing child may require an auxiliary aid or service to give informed consent for the child’s surgery.

Q4: What kinds of auxiliary aids and services are required by the ADA to ensure effective communication with individuals with hearing impairments?

A4: Appropriate auxiliary aids and services may include services and devices such as qualified interpreters, assistive listening devices, note takers, written materials for individuals with hearing impairments; and qualified readers, taped texts, and Brailed or large print materials for individuals with vision impairments. 28 C.F.R. 303(b)(1) (http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-97857)

Q5: How does a health care provider determine which auxiliary aid or service is best for a patient with a hearing loss?

A5: The auxiliary aid requirement is flexible, and the health care provider can choose among various alternatives as long as the result is effective communication for the individual with a hearing loss. A person with a hearing loss knows best which auxiliary aid or service will achieve effective communication with his or her health care provider. The Justice Department expects that the health care provider will consult with the person and consider carefully his or her self-assessed communication needs before acquiring a particular aid or services. 56 Fed. Reg. at 35566-67.

Q6: Why are auxiliary aids and services so important in the medical setting?

A6: Auxiliary aids and services are often needed to provide safe and effective medial treatment. Without these aids and services, medical staff run the grave risk of not understanding the patient’s symptoms, misdiagnosing the patient’s medical problem, and prescribing inadequate or even harmful treatment. Similarly, patients may not understand medical instructions and warnings or prescription guidelines.

Q7: Are there any limitations on the ADA’s auxiliary aids and services requirements?

A7: Yes. The ADA does not require the provision of any auxiliary aid or service that would result in an undue burden or in a fundamental alteration in the nature of the goods or services provided by a health care provider. 28 C.F.R. 36.303(a) (http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-97857) However, the health care provider is not relieved from the duty to furnish an alternative auxiliary aid or service, if provision of that aid or service would not result in a fundamental alteration or undue burden. 28 C.F.R. 36.303(f) (http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-97857) Both of these limitations are derived from existing regulations and case law under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and are to be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Q8: When would providing an auxiliary aid or service be an undue burden?

A8: An undue burden is something that involves a significant difficulty or expense. Factors to consider include the cost of the aid or service, the overall financial resources of the health care provider, the number of the provider’s employees, legitimate necessary safety requirements, the effect on the resources and operation of the provider, and the difficulty of locating or providing the aid or services. 28 C.F.R. 36.104 (http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-36104)

Q9: Must a health care provider pay for an auxiliary aid or service for a medical appointment if the cost of that aid or service exceeds the provider’s charge for the appointment?

A9: In certain situations the cost of providing an auxiliary aid or service (for example, an interpreter) to achieve effective communication in administering a particular medical service may exceed the charge to the patient for that very same service. A health care provider is expected to treat the costs of providing auxiliary aids and services as part of the overhead costs of operating a business. Accordingly, so long as the provision of the auxiliary aid or service does not impose an undue burden on the provider’s business and does not fundamentally alter the provider’s services, the provider may be obligated to pay for the auxiliary aid or service in this situation.

Q10: Can a health care provider charge a Deaf or hard of hearing patient for part or all of the costs of providing an auxiliary aid or service?

A10: No. A health care provider cannot charge a patient for the costs of providing auxiliary aids and services, either directly or through the patient’s insurance carrier. 28 C.F.R. 36.301 (http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-44591)

Q11: Who is qualified to be an interpreter in a health care setting?

A11: A qualified interpreter is an interpreter who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary. 28 C.F.R. 36.104 (http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-36104) In the medical setting, this will mean that the interpreter may need to interpret complex medical terminology.

Q12: Do all individuals with hearing loss use the same kind of interpreter?

A12: No. There are various kinds of interpreters. The health care provider should ascertain the particular language needs of the Deaf or hard of hearing patient before hiring an interpreter. Some individuals may require interpreters who are fluent in American Sign Language, a language that has a grammar and syntax that is different from the English language. Others may require interpreters who use Signed English, a form of signing which uses the same word order as does English. Still others who do not know any sign language may require oral interpreters who take special care to articulate words for individuals with hearing loss.

Q13: Can a health care provider require family members and friends to interpret for Deaf patients?

A13: No. Family members often do not possess sufficient sign language skills to effectively interpret in a medical setting. And even if they are skilled enough in sign language to communicate with the patient, family members and friends are very often too emotionally or personally involved to interpret “effectively, accurately, and impartially.” Finally, problems with maintaining patient confidentiality can cause problems with using family members and friends as interpreters. There is also the conflict of interest to take into consideration which may leave the health care provider open to Legal issues. 56 Fed. Reg. at 35553.

Q14: In what medical situations should a healthcare provider obtain the services of an interpreter?

A14: An interpreter should be present in all medical situations in which the information exchanged is sufficiently lengthy or complex to require an interpreter for effective communication. Examples may include discussing a patient’s medical history, obtaining informed consent and permission for treatment, explaining diagnosis, treatment, and prognoses of an illness, conducting psychotherapy, communicating prior to and after major medical procedures, providing complex instructions regarding medication, explaining medical costs and insurance, and explaining patient care upon discharge from a medical facility.

Q15: Is lipreading an effective form of communicating with Deaf and hard of hearing individuals?

A15: Not often. Some Deaf and hard of hearing individuals do rely on lipreading for communication but the majority of them use it in addition to Sign Language as support. Not the main form of communication. For other individuals, an oral interpreter may be the best means of ensuring effective communication in the medical setting. However, the ability of a Deaf or hard of hearing individual to speak clearly does not mean that he or she can lip read effectively. Indeed, because lipreading requires some guesswork, very few Deaf people rely on lipreading alone for exchanges of important information. Forty to sixty percent of English sounds do not look alike when spoken. On the average, even the best lip readers only understand 25% of what is said to them, and many Deaf individuals understand far less. Lipreading may be particularly difficult in the medical setting where complex medical terminology is often used therefor it is never recommended within the Industry as the ONLY method.

Q16: Do written notes offer an effective means of communicating with Deaf and hard of hearing individuals?

A16: This will depend on the reading/education/geographical level of the Deaf or hard of hearing individual. For many Deaf individuals, the services of a sign language interpreter offers the only effective method of communication. However, some Deaf or hard of hearing individuals who do not use sign language, such as individuals who have lost their hearing later in life, may communicate more effectively in writing with their health care providers.

Q17: Must health care providers made conferences, health education, and training sessions that are open to the general public accessible to individuals with hearing loss?

A17: Yes. Health care providers that offer training sessions, health education, or conferences to the general public must make these events accessible to Deaf and hard of hearing individuals. 28 C.F.R. 36.201 (http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-3800) and 36.202 (http://www.ada.gov/reg3a.html#Anchor-35326). In addition to interpreters, there are a variety of assistive listening devices that may be appropriate to eliminate problems with distance and background noise for hard of hearing individuals wishing to attend these sessions.

Q18: Can health care providers receive any tax credits for the costs of providing auxiliary aids and services?

A18: Yes. Businesses, including health care providers, may claim a tax credit. Examples of eligible access expenditures include the necessary and reasonable costs of providing interpreters, and other auxiliary aids; and acquiring or modifying equipment or devices. As amended in 1990, the Internal Revenue Code allows a deduction of up to $15,000 per year for expenses associated with the removal of qualified architectural and transportation barriers. The 1990 amendment also permits eligible small businesses to receive a tax credit for certain costs of compliance with the ADA. An eligible small business is one whose gross receipts do not exceed $1,000,000 or whose workforce does not consist of more than 30 full-time workers. Qualifying businesses may claim a credit of up to 50 percent of eligible access expenditures that exceed $250 but do not exceed $10,250. Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, P.L. 101-505, 44

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING MEDICAL INTERPRETING:

Effective communication between consumers who are Deaf or hard of hearing and health care providers is essential to provide safe and effective medical treatment.

Title III of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to all private health care providers, regardless of the size of the office or the number of employees. It applies to providers of both physical and mental health care. Hospitals, nursing homes, psychiatric and psychological services, offices of private physicians, dentists, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and health clinics are included among the health care providers covered by the ADA.

Using a qualified sign language interpreter not only helps to ensure that the health care provider is compliant with the ADA, but it allows the Deaf or hard of hearing patient to fully participate and make decisions in health care treatment. A qualified interpreter is an interpreter who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.

Without interpreting services, medical staff run the risk of not understanding the patient’s symptoms, misdiagnosing the patient’s medical problem, and prescribing inadequate or even harmful treatment. Similarly, patients may not understand medical instructions and warnings or prescription guidelines.

A health care facility may be asked to provide a qualified sign language interpreter when the consumer is a Deaf or hard of hearing patient, a relative or a partner involved in the patient’s health care is Deaf or hard or hearing, or when a child or the child’s parents are Deaf or hard of hearing. When critical medical information is communicated during routine wellness care, urgent care, preventative care, surgical procedure, or in obtaining an informed consent for treatment, using a sign language interpreter can facilitate communication and keep it confidential, accurate, and efficient. Classes, support groups and other activities that are open to the public must also be accessible for Deaf or hard of hearing participants. The use of an interpreter enables all of the parties involved to ask questions, express concerns, receive accurate and important information, and avoid the frustration that may arise with miscommunication.

FIA Interpreting encourages interpreters working in healthcare settings to receive advance training in addition to Certification in order to interpret complex medical terminology.

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Christopher Jon Heuer

Photo by Bobby Cox

Christopher Jon Heuer has had an enormous role at Gallaudet University, contributing so many great things to Gallaudet University. He received his Bachelor’s degree majoring in English in the year of 1992 and then went to University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee to earn his Master’s degree. After that, he finally reached the final level of his schooling at George Mason University for a PhD degree. Christopher ended up at Gallaudet University as an associate professor; it was this point at his life that he began his long list of contributions to the Gallaudet community.

Not only did he become an associate professor, he also became a member and professor of the English department. His area of expertise were journalism, creative writing, and minority literature. He also became a member of the Department of Applied Literacy for Bilingual Instruction. He was engaged in intensive curriculum/assessment development and was responsible for testing coordination.

The roots of his inspiration behind his contribution in the deaf community began with seeing “too many deaf people get screwed over in life.”

“Not just by hearing people, either. By other deaf people. It’s stupid, it’s destructive, it needs to stop, and it can be. But not by doing business the way we do business now. You want to see real change in how deaf people are treated in this country? In their own community? Then you need a cultural, political, and social awakening on a scale unlike anything ever seen before. And you know what? You can pull that off. You can trigger it. You can contribute to it. But if you’re wasting your time and mine waiting around for a leader or a popular social movement to come along and save you—with no effort whatsoever on your own part—you aren’t worth rescuing. Because you’re just taking from everyone around you. So figure out what you’re willing to give, and what you’re willing to do, and get on with that. With the giving and the doing.”

It was lucky that DeafEcho.com had Christopher as their Editor-in-Chief. He had been responsible for editing all articles, providing feedback, recruiting new writers, photo selection, and layout. Christopher stabilized the continuance of the community that comes within DeafEcho.com. However, it was apparent that he has a trait of “giving back to the community”. Christopher first went public with his study, “Dissertation: Emotional Coping and Literacy Intervention Decisions––How Hearing Parents Guide Their Deaf Children” which was archived at the George Mason University Library in January 2009 and “Deafness as Conflict and Conflict Component” in 2007.

Christopher’s lingering presence at Gallaudet University since 1999 has impacted many people. He is one of the best professors in Gallaudet University. His name constantly pops up among the older students’ recommended teachers. I was told to sign up for a course that he teaches again…and again. Christopher has made a deep mark in people of GU community since his intelligence and excessively magnificent teaching style are usually the talk. Throughout his academic years, he has also published two books, several anthologies, and two non-fiction stories. Being a versatile writer, he has also written many fictional stories and poetry as well.

Why does he work so hard to make a difference? He has a simple answer. He has a huge passion. “My passion is people. What they think, what they can be. How they can organize and fight to get what they want. Don’t kid yourselves, either. Those standing between you and what you want have no interest in giving you what you want. If they did, you would have it by now. You’d better believe you’re in for a fight. And so you’d better learn how to fight,” said Christopher. “Why start with ‘the world?’ Start with yourself. Your family. Your friends. People you can actually influence. If you keep talking about ‘the world’ you’re not really going to believe that you’re contributing to anything other than a fantasy.”

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HB 1367: A Renewal of the ASL vs. Oralism Conflict

How would you feel if you were forced to walk on your hands instead of your (fully-functioning) feet? Pissed off because you were born and taught to walk on your feet, and you can walk better that way anyway, right?

What if changing the way of our communication to oralism would be a good cause? In my own opinion, it isn’t a good idea. A Darwinian theory states, “An adaptation in biology is a trait with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. Adaptations contribute to the fitness and survival of individuals. Organisms face a succession of environmental challenges as they grow and develop and are equipped with an adaptive plasticity as the phenotype of traits develops in response to the imposed conditions. The developmental norm of reaction for any given trait is essential to the concept of adaptation as it affords a kind of biological insurance or resilience to varying environments.” (Space and Motion, 2011) Basically, people will adapt to their environment. That’s basic science and a fundamental theory of Darwin’s.

If oralism was the best way for the deaf people to talk, according to Darwin’s theory, adaptation would have made it happen. That is why we communicate with our hands. Hands are bigger than a mouth and our visual senses see hands much better. Not only hands are more visible, they can make more varied shapes and movements than a mouth, which makes communication for us much easier and more effective.

Why don’t scientists try to fix fish and make them walk on land, so it will be easier for fishermen to catch more fish? People shouldn’t try to change things that occur naturally. People who grew up valuing speech don’t look at the deaf as “people”. Instead, they look at us as “people that need fixing”, the exact reason why society is trying to make us communicate orally, a method that is the closest possible thing to speaking. In result of people trying to fix us, deaf people, we suffer oppression, obstacles, and barriers due to difference in belief.

When my dad was a child, his parents strongly believed in oralism and made him go to an oral school. He was not allowed to sign. If oralism was a natural technique for everyone to acquire, he would be able to speak fluently, right? When he grew up, he was selected as one of 100 best financial planners and was qualified for President Club conference several times. In all of his trips to President Club conferences, he needed interpreters. As a grown-up oral user, he still has difficult times talking to people with no knowledge of sign language. Clearly, oralism is NOT a natural communication method for deaf people.

It all started with Alexander Graham Bell. He believed that deafness was a horrible curse to the people who suffered from it and that deaf people were weakening the society. He became worried as the population of deaf people increased, so he documented several ideas to stop the expansion of deaf people. He did this by eliminating residential institutions, prohibiting the use of sign language, forbidding deaf teachers from teaching deaf students, and banning marriage between two deaf people. Fortunately, his ideas never became official rules. But, it did install anger and fear in deaf people.

His statements and lies changed the beliefs of many deaf parents, made them install cochlear implants in their deaf children’s heads, and expose the deaf children to oralism and mainstream schools. Many deaf people have been hurt academically and socially because of the huge impact oralism has made. The Deaf community have been weakened by his association and statements. Over a long time of fighting for our rights, the strength of our deaf community is finally solid and strong once again. Now, if his ideas were true and efficient, the American deaf community would be non-existent. We KNOW what we need and what is the best for us.

January 11, 2011 is the day that plays an enormous role in the history of the deaf. A bill, House Bill (H.B.) 1367, written by Indiana state Representative Cindy Noe and Adam Horst, the state budget agency director, was introduced by the Indiana General Assembly. It has passed the Indiana House of Representatives and now is in the hands of the Senate–so this is serious news for Indiana School for the Deaf.

The bill states for the purpose of this “outreach center”, “Deaf and hearing impaired education services. Establishes the center for deaf and hearing impaired education to ensure that children who are deaf or hearing impaired acquire optimal communication and academic abilities. Requires the office of management and budget to determine an appropriate agency to provide office space and staff support for the center. Transfers the outreach services and consultative services to local education agencies to assist in meeting the needs of locally enrolled students with hearing disabilities of the Indiana School for the Deaf to the center for deaf and hearing-impaired education. Provides that the Indiana School for the Deaf are subject to accountability provisions for performance and improvement, but are not subject to sanction provisions.” (Orangejack, 2011)

Therefore, my prediction comes in – the diminishment of sign language in the state of Indiana in the future, in which has the possibility of leading to the dissolving of ASL across the nation. This is happening, in my opinion, with the return of oralism, only if the bill is passed.

Without ISD’s outreach program, none of this would be possible. Without any contact with this program, communication between deaf children and their hearing parents would be poor and turbulent. In a worst case scenario, some children might be forced to communicate orally.

To put this bill into a paper shredder machine, 20,000 people will need to sign the petition. We have a little over 6,000 supporters; we’re past the ¼ mark already. Spread the word and make this petition a success so deaf students in Indiana School for the Deaf can continue having the best possible education. Every signature counts, so please support and put the emerging anti-ASL movement to a halt.

EDIT: Fortunately, the bill was never successfully passed.

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10 August

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Medical & Healthcare

CLI provides HIPAA compliant, professional healthcare interpreting services. We adhere to standards set by national healthcare accreditation organization …

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What the Non-Techie Needs to Know about VRI

There’s a scene in the British sitcom IT Crowd where Jen, the IT department manager, is asked what “IT” stands for during an interview …

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