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Helping Deaf and Hearing Communicate


If I am an ASL student and I know a little sign language and I meet a hard-of-hearing/deaf person having trouble communicating with a hearing person, should I try and help using what little ASL signs I know and finger-spelling?


Hi Lydia, Thanks for your question. I think it's best to evaluate each situation separately to determine whether it's appropriate to step in. For example, a hearing impaired friend of mine was in an accident a few years ago, and was having trouble communicating with the police officers that arrived on the scene. Luckily a passerby who could sign was able to step in and provide assistance. I hope this helps!


Be an advocate for the Deaf person and help them request a qualified interpreter. You can "help out" until the qualified person shows up. This does NOT mean, you take the place but there to help.

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