We all grew up Deaf from various educational and family backgrounds and have gone through both the mainstream and Deaf residential school systems. Having Deaf grassroots origins, we all have up close and personal experiences with language deprivation from experiencing it ourselves to witnessing it in our own family members and peers that are moderately to severely language deprived. Often, without realizing it, we became language facilitators to our families and peers. This is what pushed all of us to become professional Deaf Interpreters.
FACT: Language deprivation is an epidemic in Deaf communities worldwide, which is not surprising when 98% of deaf children in the United States alone do NOT have access to American Sign Language in K-12 education.
We all have deep roots in the community and, therefore, a profound understanding of the ripple effects of language deprivation and how it ultimately deprives deaf individuals, children and adults alike, from human connections. We have carried these experiences into our work across institutions from academia to non-profits, from private industries to the government sector. We unfortunately recognize the role agencies play in this epidemic and we came together to put an end to this after connecting as Deaf Interpreters. Together, we make for a superb team to break the mold for what interpreting agencies can and should do in providing true language access.