Saturday, October 23, 2010

Learn to Sign week

Hmm, yes I never did finish off those series of posts did I?  Well, let's have a go at finishing them now shall we.

If you are in a workplace or a learning centre (like a school, college or university) where you are likely to work with or alongside a Deaf, deaf or hard of hearing person, you will need to think about your communication methods and whether it's appropriate to bring in additional communication support.
How do you decide this?  You ask the Deaf/deaf/hard of hearing person if they want extra support, and what they want.  You do not assume what they need.

Examples of support may be an interpreter or communication support worker, a lipspeaker or a notetaker.  Notetakers can use different types of equipment or different methods to record what is being said.

As for the difference between an interpreter and a communication support worker (csw), well the main difference is qualifications.  Note that qualifications and experience are not the same thing.  I jokingly say that terps are better qualified, better paid and get more respect..but it's not always that way!  CSWs generally work in educational settings whereas terps will work in medical settings, in the workplace, in the courts, loads of places.  When you see someone signing at a conference they may be a terp or a CSW.  At the end of the day we all facilitate communication between the Deaf world and the hearing world.  And we all do our best.

Note: when using terps or csws please remember to look at the Deaf person, and not the terp/csw.  All the terp/csw is doing is interpreting the information, they are not speaking for the Deaf person.

For more information about finding a language service professional you can start by looking at the NRCPD website - National Registers of Communication Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind people.  You won't find CSWs on there - if you do specifically want a CSW try your local Deaf club who should have information on how to find one.

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