Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services’ Position on Interpreting Services

In developing this position paper, ADWAS is guided by its Vision Statement:

ADWAS is striving towards a healthy community free of violence and oppression”

 Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services supports the right of Deaf and DeafBlind persons to access interpretation services from trained, certified, and qualified interpreters in all settings. Such settings include but are not limited to: educational, medical, mental health, legal, entertainment, and recreational events. Qualified American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are trained through an accredited Interpreter Training Program (ITP), RID Certified and are able to meet the communication needs of the consumers involved.

ADWAS recognizes the denial of appropriate language and communication access as an act of oppression allowing for the over-privileging of people who can hear and under-privileging of people who are Deaf. This is called audism. This systemic and individual form of oppression is devastating and demoralizing to the human spirit and inhibits the full participation of people who are Deaf or DeafBlind, and discounts their skills or contributions in the community, workplace, or in daily interactions.  This is one form of oppression impacting Deaf and DeafBlind individuals.

ADWAS promotes healthy relationships and communities and both the self-determination and safety of all people within. This means Deaf people have a right to communication access via highly trained, certified, qualified interpreters in all settings.  Information on hiring these professional can be obtained in a number of ways. ADWAS encourages businesses and organizations to engage with the Deaf community by asking consumers about interpreter preferences; utilizing interpreter referral agencies who specialize in ASL interpretation; and including Deaf and DeafBlind individuals in board roles and advisory councils.