While many countries have adapted quickly to the changes. These came in light from COVID-19, the United States has not been able to adjust as quickly. Some state governors around the US have American Sign Language interpreters present during their press conferences. But the same is not the case with Washington DC. Public health briefings broadcast by the White House have not provided ASL interpreters, causing issues for many members of the deaf community. The inconsistencies experienced by this community not only impacts them. But can impact everyone around them as well. The lack of ASL interpreters can and has led to misinformation. Moreover, lack of information loss throughout the community, causing issues on the overall response to the virus.
World Association of Sign Language Interpreters
Guidelines regarding public health information access have been issued by the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD). Also the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI). These guidelines include the need to ensure qualified ASL interpreters to be present and clearly visible on all platforms and channels during broadcasts. Unfortunately, these guidelines are face public overlooking or ignorance by many countries. Many people in the deaf community have to rely on community organizations to interpret necessary information for them.
Uninterpreted broadcasts have not been the only cause of issues for people in the deaf community. Medical services have become increasingly challenging for people of the deaf community. With the obstruction of face masks and the reduction of interpreters available, deaf people have been facing more challenges receiving health services.
In order to assist people of the deaf community, there are many measures that could be implemented. Some of these measures include having ASL interpreters present and highly visible during all broadcasts and press conferences, providing closed captioning for broadcasts, wearing clear face masks as front-line workers, and using necessary communication devices when needed. To ensure that people of the deaf community have access to equal communication during the COVID pandemic, these measures, as well as many others, should be implemented.
Source Author: Joseph J. Murray
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