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Suppose you, as a deaf person, go to a hospital with a hearing family member that needs treatment or has an appointment and you are not the one getting treated or looked at for medical care — does the law allow you to have an interpreter in that situation? #AskHoward

VIDEO DESC & TRANSCRIPT: Howard A. Rosenblum is sitting at his desk. The NAD logo appears on bottom right corner as a watermark.

HOWARD: Suppose you (in this scenario, you are deaf) go to a hospital with a hearing family member that needs treatment or has an appointment and you are not the one getting treated or looked at — are you allowed to ask for an interpreter? Yes, the law clearly states you must be provided an interpreter if you requested one — even if you are the companion and not seeking treatment. The hearing person already has direct access to other hearing professionals in the room — you should have the same communication access. You must be provided an interpreter or other communication accommodations. The hospital scenario was just an example because it is our most commonly asked question about not providing communication accommodation at the hospital; the law applies to other areas as well. You should not be denied access as a companion. The law applies to nursing homes too. Suppose you are with your elderly hearing family member, parents, or grandparents — you may not understand what is being discussed. Maybe you have the “power of attorney” or even just as yourself, you should receive communication accommodations even though the meeting is for the nursing home resident. As a family member, you have a right to be a part of the meeting. Other hearing family members will have direct access — you should too. Suppose you join a family member to the police station, a courtroom, or a school event with your hearing children to watch someone perform on stage, participate in a meeting like the PTA — you should be provided communication accommodations. The law also applies to companions — the ADA and section 504 clearly says that you must be provided equal access. If you are denied access, you can tell them that you have a right to communication accommodations under the law. The NAD has an advocacy letter you can use to justify your argument. Remember we have different letters for different situations, for hospitals and nursing homes and more. These letters have a detailed explanation for providing communication accommodation for companions. Use the letter and send them to the person responsible when you have an issue. If you still are denied access, let us know. Again, you have a right to communication access even if you are a companion. Thank you.

Video cuts to grey background with the NAD logo quickly changing in different bright colors from teal to white to black to hot pink to green to orange to teal to yellow to purple to finally the official NAD logo with copyright text underneath “The National Association of the Deaf (c) 2019 All Rights Reserved”.

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