There’s a Lack of Deaf Interpreters

Catarina Otero, Reporter

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There is a need for interpreters for the deaf /or hard of hearing in Grand Junction and that is causing concerns not only from the Deaf community but also from the Colorado Commission for the Deaf. Throughout all of Grand Junction, there is only one certified deaf interpreter. Not having a deaf interpreter can cause major issues in the event of an emergency. Not being able to effectively or quickly communicate during an accident or even a fire can truly be a life or death situation. Not only does the lack of interpreters cause issues in emergencies but it also causes issues with day to day activities. The absence of interpreters can be extremely challenging for both the student and their teachers. This issue has prompted Trish Leakey, auxiliary services manager for the Colorado Commission for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deafblind to comment on the issue saying, “(…) they need access to effective communication (…) they’re shut out.” Interpreters can be very expensive as they often have to come in from bigger cities like Denver. Colorado legislators, however, have created a project to provide interpreters for rural areas with no charge at all. If the project works out those deaf and hard of hearing can be viewing a town with fewer language barriers. Colorado is taking major steps in the right direction for the community.