Sign Language Interpreting Services (SLIS)

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Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990:
True or False? "You can ask your Deaf client/patient to bring an interpreter for communication
This is False.  To ask your Deaf client/patient to bring an interpreter is actually breaking the law and and violates the ADA. The ADA requires all public and private businesses to provide Deaf people with an interpreter.


The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a federal law which provides for Deaf people to be afforded the same kinds of services as everyone else - simply with an interpreter.  The ADA is a federal law passed in 1990 that provides deaf individuals the right to clear and effective communication with a qualified sign language interpreter. 
It's not only legal right of every Deaf person to request an interpreter - it is for your protection as well as theirs, and insures a much more efficient and enjoyable use of time for any interaction.
Compared to the high costs of the many suits that have resulted from ADA violations (and even malpractice suits regarding miscommunications) the cost of an interpreter for a few hours is negligible.  In addition, complying with ADA requirements by hiring an interpreter is also a tax write-off for the facility offering services ().
In addition - having an interpreter almost always results in a much shorter amount of time for communication.  Writing notes back and forth is not only very confusing and full of misunderstandings for someone whose first language is not English), but also requires about double the amount of time.
Almost every business has a Legal or ADA Compliance department that can explain in greater detail.
Links below will provide additional information regarding the ADA.
Note to small businesses:
Those businesses that can prove that making accommodations (in this case hiring an interpreter) would be an undue hardship need to prove that the overall net profits of the business would be severely hurt by the cost of the accommodation (the interpreter).  The burden of proof is on the small business to provide documentation. See link below.  Those same questions also address why is it required to pay for an interpreter when it exceeds the provider's charge.

Issues Specific to Small Businesses


What is the ADA and how do I ensure compliance?


Information and publications from the Department of Justice...


NAD (National Association of the Deaf) questions and answers regarding the ADA... (note this is specific to health care providers, but the same information applies to all businesses and services)


Tax Incentive Packet...


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Federal Law Title III...

 The Colorado Lawyer - article "Sign Language Interpreters: Who Pays?"  (written by a lawyer specifically for lawyers but applies to all business and services)


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