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00:00:02Access to justice is a right of all citizens including people who are
00:00:07deaf and hard of hearing.
00:00:08The U.S. and Ohio Constitutions guarantee that
00:00:11all people have the right to understand criminal
00:00:14charges brought against them, be able to assist in their own defense and to have equal
00:00:18protection under the law.
00:00:21Additionally, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that courts take reasonable
00:00:26steps to provide "meaningful access" to the courts and court services, and the law
00:00:31prohibits discrimination based on disability.
00:00:35Certified sign language interpreters play a key role in ensuring that deaf and hard
00:00:40of hearing individual have access to accurate and meaningful communication in legal
00:00:45settings so parties can understand the consequences and options available to them,
00:00:51including the waiver of any rights.
00:00:54The Interpreter Services Program created this video to assist courts in
00:00:58understanding the barriers that people who are deaf and hard of
00:01:01hearing may experience in courts.
00:01:04The video will cover the different methods of communication among deaf people and
00:01:08describe the resources available to ensure effective communication.
00:01:13The Interpreter Services Program has also started a program for the certification of
00:01:18court interpreters to make it easier for the courts and deaf parties to communicate
00:01:23effectively in legal proceedings.
00:01:26Other resources, such as a bench card and a bench book assist courts in deciding the type
00:01:31of interpreter that is better suited for a particular method of communication.
00:01:36It is our hope that this video helps to ensure "meaningful access" to Ohio courts and
00:01:41services for the deaf community.
00:01:44Thank you for commitment to learning more about this important
00:01:47function of the judicial system.
00:01:52The Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council is pleased to be part of this great
00:01:56effort to develop this video for the courts in Ohio.
00:02:00As some of you may know, one of the goals of the Council is to impact systems to be
00:02:05inclusive of people with disabilities and we see this project not only as serving that
00:02:11purpose but also to be used as a model in Ohio and other states to encourage
00:02:17collaborative efforts.
00:02:19We anticipate that this joint project will serve as a blueprint for the unique success
00:02:25that can be achieved when Councils take steps to reach out to other community service
00:02:31partners and work to enrich the lives of people with disabilities.
00:02:53During the trial, there may be times when the attorneys need to discuss a point of
00:02:57evidence with me and we will handle that in one of two ways: either I will excuse you
00:03:02from the room if the conversation appears lengthy, or the attorneys will approach the
00:03:07bench and we will discuss the matter right here if the discussion will not be extensive.
00:03:15Without a doubt, Deaf individuals face significant barriers in the hearing world.
00:03:20One of the major obstacles they face to exercise the same rights as other citizens is
00:03:24the unawareness of what it means to be Deaf.
00:03:27Deaf individuals share many things in common with hearing people.
00:03:31However, there are significant and fundamental differences as well.
00:03:36Take for instance the way language is learned.
00:03:39Many people who are not deaf assume that language is learned in the same way regardless
00:03:43of the ability to hear.
00:03:45That is, that these words I exhale, float to your ear, enter your ear canal and vibrate
00:03:50to your brain have meaning, because this is the path that language has taken since you
00:03:55were a child and this is the way that language was taught to you by your parents, your
00:04:00teachers, your friends and your environment.
00:04:03But what if you could NOT hear?
00:04:06What if these sound waves or words did not get to your brain?
00:04:09How would you understand sounds or people?
00:04:12How would you understand meaning?
00:04:15How would you communicate?
00:04:17The view that language is acquired in only through hearing is simply
00:04:21inaccurate and becomes a barrier in effective communication with Deaf
00:04:25and hard of hearing individuals.
00:04:27Deaf individuals have the same capacity to understand meaning, but meaning has to come
00:04:32from grammatical movement of hands, face and body rather than sound waves.
00:04:38Another assumption that hearing people have about deaf individuals is that by placing
00:04:43an interpreter in front of a deaf person, the deaf person is somehow transformed into a
00:04:48person who can hear and who shares the common language,
00:04:52culture and norms of American society.
00:04:55The purpose of this video is to explore a slice of the culture, language, common
00:05:00experiences that challenge deaf people in navigating an institution
00:05:04such as the court system.
00:05:06The video is presented in three parts.
00:05:09The first part explores how language acquisition and language policy have created a closely knit
00:05:14deaf community with its own unique language.
00:05:18The second part explores the variable nature of sign language use in the deaf community as
00:05:22a result of the traditional policies of deaf education.
00:05:26Finally, the video discusses a number of ways that
00:05:29courts can ensure effective communication with deaf parties by using
00:05:32highly qualified and competent interpreters to allow equal access to justice.
00:05:51For those who can hear, there is no conscious attempt to learn English or the rules of
00:05:55proper usage until the child goes to school.
00:05:59By the time a child arrives at school, the child already has a strong language base
00:06:03derived from the act of listening to English and using it.
00:06:07If you can hear, you cannot avoid being exposed to English.
00:06:11You live in a world permeated by sounds and rich language.
00:06:15Language, in a sense, washes over you.
00:06:17The amount of information learned by 'overhearing' conversation cannot be understated.
00:06:22It is how people learn their first language.
00:06:26I was born hearing and became deaf at the age of five.
00:06:32I had a hearing infection as a result of Spinal Meningitis
00:06:36and I've been deaf since then.
00:06:41I was born deaf and both of my parents are hearing.
00:06:47But we don't know why I was born deaf and I do have some residual
00:06:50hearing in one of my ears.
00:06:54I was born deaf and my parents are also deaf.
00:06:57I come from several generations of deaf people.
00:07:00So, it seems to be hereditary in my family.
00:07:03When I was born the doctors did test my ears and they found that my ears had normal
00:07:08functions, but it seems that the auditory connections in my brain are somehow shut off.
00:07:12So, I suppose genetics determined that.
00:07:15Since I grew up in a deaf family, I had normal language interaction wherever I went.
00:07:19I didn't know any differently.
00:07:20That was my childhood experience.
00:07:32Up until about the 1880's deaf education consisted mostly of one on one tutoring.
00:07:37It wasn't terribly formalized.
00:07:40And then Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet met a young deaf individual named Alice and that's how
00:07:48he became involved in sign language and he established a deaf school and their policy was
00:07:53to teach American Sign Language and then some time in the 1880's he established Gallaudet
00:07:58University and their policy was to educate in American Sign Language as well.
00:08:05And then Alexander Graham Bell felt that an education that emphasized speech and lip
00:08:09reading and spoken English was more appropriate for deaf people because he felt that if
00:08:13deaf people used sign language they wouldn't develop English skills.
00:08:17So, he established oral programs across the country and the National Association of the
00:08:21Deaf was upset by this and then a group of deaf educators met in Milan Italy at the
00:08:27Congress of Milan and decided to abolish American Sign Language as a method of education
00:08:32for deaf individuals and the National Association of the Deaf struggled against this for
00:08:37a long time to no avail.
00:08:39Oral Education spread throughout the country and educating deaf individuals in American
00:08:43Sign Language was largely prohibited for a long time.
00:08:47However, deaf children continued to use sign language outside the classroom, in
00:08:50dormitories, at recess.
00:08:53They had to hide their signing from their teachers but they did continue to do that.
00:08:58And this method of educating children continued throughout the 1940's and 50's.
00:09:46Those of us who are born and raised in the United States who hear are
00:09:50exposed to that English all day, every day, and so we acquire it in that natural form
00:09:56hearing it, and mimicking it, and testing it out-you try something and somebody goes,
00:10:02euhh, that's not how you say that and then we get corrected, but we're not sitting in a
00:10:06classroom formally learning that this is how you speak and this is how you discuss
00:10:11certain things.
00:10:13Deaf individuals don't hear, or they hear to varying degrees and so they don't have that
00:10:18same exposure and so English doesn't come naturally to them.
00:10:23They are, in fact, being taught English and for some that's successful and for some it
00:10:28isn't, again depending on how they're being taught.
00:10:31If they're being taught through English, which they can't hear, then it's more difficult,
00:10:35and if they're being taught through sign language, where they can get the concepts but
00:10:40they still might not have as strong an English foundation as an individual who hears it
00:10:45and experiences it and deals with it every day.
00:12:44There are varying estimates, but it's pretty well agreed that over
00:12:4790% of children that are deaf are born to parents who can hear and most of those parents
00:12:54don't know sign language and are not signing with them from birth.
00:13:00I feel that if we were exposed to two different perspectives instead of just one, maybe they
00:13:07would learn better.
00:13:08Perhaps parents who are clueless about a child who is deaf and later they find out when
00:13:15it's too late and they don't know how to communicate when they go to their doctor or they
00:13:20go to an audiologist asking to fix the problem.
00:13:24Instead of addressing the problem as it should be, finding a way to deal with the child's
00:13:29communication rather than fixing the problem with a hearing aid or a cochlear implant and
00:13:34so forth.
00:13:37That effort to repair-to fix-they overlook the language development part and by the time
00:13:43they realize that they need to develop language, they're already delayed.
00:13:49By the time they're four or five, beginning to read, they are already delayed and they
00:13:55have a long way to go to catch up with they're hearing counterparts.
00:14:00The lack of access to formal language experienced by many deaf people is the result of
00:14:04a number of historical, social, and linguistic factors.
00:14:09These factors affect the fluency of American Sign Language, or ASL, that a deaf person
00:14:15may have.
00:14:17In the next section, we will look at these factors.
00:14:30If a child was caught signing in the classroom, the teacher would get out a ruler and
00:14:36wrap the student right across the knuckles.
00:14:39It really hurt!
00:17:00I believe that we're seeing more variation as a result of that.
00:17:03When all the children were being educated at the residential schools for the deaf, those
00:17:08few children that had deaf parents were able to pass the language along to those who did
00:17:14not have deaf parents.
00:17:16Now when we have lots of mainstreaming happening, there may be one deaf student in that
00:17:22public school who has a deaf parent, they're not as able to pass that language on to all
00:17:28the other deaf students in their classes as when you have a bigger number at the
00:17:35residential schools.
00:17:36So yes, I think that is having an impact on the language used by deaf people.
00:17:44Since the language was traditionally learned from peers, the meaning of signs came
00:17:48from the user or peer 'teacher'.
00:17:51This made language use highly variable.
00:17:54Not only is there variation in ASL but there is also a number of communication methods
00:17:59that have been imposed on deaf people over the years.
00:18:02Therefore, some deaf adults may use a mish mash of methods depending on where, how
00:18:07and by whom they were taught to sign.
00:18:10This wide range of communication methods has tremendous implications for interpreters as
00:18:16not all interpreters will have the range of language skills required to meet the needs of
00:18:20the range of deaf people they will encounter.
00:18:23Next we will take a look at some of the more formalized, but still variable, methods of
00:18:28visual communication that you may still see in your courtroom today.
Note : Transcripts are compiled from uncorrected captions