When a deaf student requests a specific interpreter, do we have to honor their request?

Pairing deaf people and interpreters in educational settings is a complex task which requires thoughtful consideration and depends on multiple factors.

There may be circumstances where a specific interpreter may be the most appropriate choice for effective communication, which ensures equitable opportunity for the student to benefit from programs and services. Take into account the reasonableness of the request and the student’s subjective experience. The Department of Justice’s Effective Communication guide emphasizes what a qualified interpreter means; also, there may be certification or licensing requirements to consider for your state.

Evaluate the requested interpreter’s background including any certifications, knowledge or skills in specific content areas, years of experience, and previous experience working with the deaf student. If there are reasons the requested interpreter cannot be scheduled, discuss with the deaf student before scheduling an alternative interpreter.

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Updated on July 29, 2022

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