It is required of every business and government in the country to hire an American Sign Language interpreter if a hearing impaired person requests one. That requirement of the Americans with Disabilities Act has been around since the law was passed in 1991. It is remarkable how few businesses and governments realize that. When I worked at Disability Rights of Texas, some of the worst offenders were doctor’s offices. The doctors were simply not aware of the requirement. But, deaf persons are aware. The average deaf person will not make an issue of it, except when the service involves something important like medical issues. See one of my prior posts on the subject here.

Every hearing impaired person is entitled to the method of communication s/he prefers. For technical topics like law and medicine, most hearing impaired persons prefer an actual ASL interpreter. Writing notes back and forth will work for more simple, routine discussions. And, what about school? Will a school district be required to provide an ASL interpreter if requested? The answer is surely yes. One young student in San Antonio was denied an interpreter. His family has now filed suit against the San Antonio Independent School District over that denial. See San Antonio Express News report here.

There are video devices which will provide translations. The San Antonio ISD apparently tried to rely on those video devices. But, even so, if the hearing impaired person requests an actual, live interpreter, the school or business must provide it.