Only 33% of spoken English is visible on the lips. Lip reading is largely guess work and practice.

 American Sign Language (ASL) is used by the majority of culturally Deaf people. It is recognized by the State of New York as a language and is taught in schools and universities as a second language. It has its own grammatical rules and structure.

 Rochester is home to about 55,000 Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. It is the largest deaf population, per capita, across the country. Many have graduated from college with post baccalaureate degrees. We are unique!

 The Americans With Disabilities Act was passed in 1990. Before that time, most entities were not required to provide interpreters. Deaf people have gone to doctors and lawyers without an interpreter, or have used their children to interpret for them. Because of this they may not know their or their family's full medical history.

 Until the ADA was passed, almost no television programming was closed-captioned, (written text which appears on the screen). More and more television stations are providing captioning but it is still not completely accessible. All new televisions are required to have the technology that enables captioning to be seen.

 People who know sign language are not necessarily able to interpret. Not all those who call themselves an interpreter are actually trained. Currently, there is no license to interpret in New York. There is a national organization called the Registry of Interpreter for the Deaf which does evaluate interpreters and awards certification.

 There is a Code of Ethics for Professional interpreters. It includes: Keeping all information confidential Remaining neutral in each interaction, not siding with or advising one or the other parties Accepting assignments according to their skill level and ability to remain impartial.

 Using an interpreter saves time, makes all communication accessible, avoids mistakes and miscommunications, and prevents potential lawsuits.