Publication Title
Characteristics and Practices of Sign Language Interpreters in Inclusive Education Programs
Publication Type
Journal article
Exceptional Children
Year of publication


The successful inclusion of students who are deaf or hard of hearing in U.S. public schools (K-12) is a challenging goal. In the wake of increasing concerns about the full inclusion of children who are deaf or hard of hearing in general education - without adequate communication and social supports (Frishberg, 1990; Schrag, 1991) - research is needed to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the key individuals making inclusion possible. Long-standing debates on communication approaches render the issues of inclusion more complex. The issue of communication is a key factor in implementing inclusive education. The responsibility placed on an educational sign language interpreter is so great that the issue of roles, functions, and qualifications emerges as a concern for the field. Little research has been conducted in the area of educational sign language interpreting performed in K-12 public school settings. As Stewart (1988) pointed out, interpreting in the elementary and secondary school setting has a short history.

This study was designed to determine (a) the demographic characteristics and responsibilities of educational sign language interpreters within the K-12 public school system in the United States; (b) the mode of communication they use most frequently; and (c) their education and certification levels. Surveys were completed by 222 educational sign language interpreters in three states. Results showed the lack of certification and adequate training for the majority of respondents, as well as inadequate minority/gender representation, among other concerns. The study raised questions about the dependence of students who are deaf or hard of hearing on the educational interpreter support system. Recommendations for educational practice are presented.
Submitted by Mercedes Martí… on Tue, 06/06/2017 - 19:06