Ways To Communicate With a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Individual
Prepared specifically for the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families
- Request a certified interpreter through CDHI or FSW. (numbers listed on back)
- Always try to obtain the individuals preferred mode of communication prior to scheduling the interpreter. Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals can use a variety of communication to include (ASL – American Sign Language, Oral – lip reads and uses voice, PSE- Pidgin Signed English, Signed English, MLS – Minimal Language Skills or Gestural) If you cannot determine their preferred mode of communication, then ask the individual when the interpreter is present.
- Try to schedule interpreting services two weeks in advance. A suggestion is to plan your home visits (even unannounced) a month at a time to ensure the availability of interpreter services for your home visits. Interpreter services are available on an emergency basis.
- There are different types of interpreters for different uses. Interpreters are certified nationally at different skill levels (medical, legal). Some situations may require the use of more than one interpreter to ensure effective communication between all parties.
- All DCF offices have a TTY available. The keyboard is similar to a standard computer keyboard. There is TTY etiquette you need to follow. Type “GA”, which means go ahead, at the end of your sentence to inform the other person it is their turn. Also watch for “GA” which means it is your turn to talk. Type “SK” to end the conversation.
- Call 711 for relay services. Tell the 711 operator the number you wish to call. The relay operator will dial it and then communicate using a TTY with the individual. Remember to use “go ahead” and “SK” just as you would with using a TTY. Please speak directly to the individual, not the operator.
- Some individuals use video relay. They utilize a computer equipped with a video camera and use sign language to communicate with an interpreter instead of a TTY. Not many have access to this, but if they do, it is very helpful for an individual with limited English who is not able to communicate with a TTY.
Life Bridge (Formerly FSW)
475 Clinton Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06605
Toll free and emergency: 888-676-8554
Link to Life Bridge Interpreter Request form: http://www.lifebridgect.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Sign-Language-Interpreter-Req-Form.pdf