While I am waiting for a phone call, I’d like to tell you about the major differences between an Interpreter and an Intervenor.
The Interpreter, who I am going to call Rudy, is only taught to relay auditory information. Things like: the doctor speaking, knocking on door, a creaking sound, conversations between two other people, a presentation, a laugh, a cough, a dog barking, etc…
Rudy is not trained to inform Deaf persons about visual information, through they can if DeafBlind person needs it. Some examples: Rudy can inform that guy behind you sneezed and did not cover his mouth. Rudy can inform you that a woman slammed the door and sat down, obviously late for the meeting.
An Intervenor, Alex is a good name as any, is trained to inform the DeafBlind person of both Visual and Auditory information. Alex would tell me, or you, that the guy who sneezed looked very sick, maybe explaining the expressions of the people standing next to him. Alex would also explain the woman who was late looked disheveled, hair a mess, drowsy, that sort of thing.
Being a Deaf person, after Rudy informed them of the Sneezer or the Tardy Person, may or may not look around at the situation behind them. And quickly assess the situation; probably reaching for the hand-sanitizer key fob on their car key ring or giving a “Done that in College” look.
Being a DeafBlind person; they, too, might look back and cringe, if their vision is good enough, or if Alex is fluent enough. They would also have hand-sanitizer readily available, not on their car key ring, but a big bottle, on the table!
Now, why am I telling you about this? I’d like to tell you what happened at my Cochlear Implant meeting with Rudy. I invited my Mum to come as support person and scribe, note taker.
After we sat down in the tiny narrow office, the audiologist asked me, straight-on, “What are your goals for getting a Cochlear Implant? Why do you want one?” I replied:
Family discussions.I expanded: When my family gets together and they are all hearing, they blah blah blah and yak yak yak and talk talk talk… and I am left out. I do ask my wife what is happening, what are you talking about; she usually will inform me, before being interrupted by a child. So I feel left out. That would be my main goal for a CI. In fact that is the only goal.
Before I go further, I want to inform you that I almost shred a tear or two because of this isolation. But I was able to prevent any. However, I found out later that my Mum did in fact shredded a few tears, unbeknownst to me, at the time.
The point for this blog is not about the Tears, but to show you the difference between Rudy and Alex. Rudy, the interpreter, did not inform me that my Mum was in fact crying. She paid no attending to her, even though she was adding information to the discussion.
Alex, the intervenor, on the other hand, would have definitely informed me about my mother’s emotions.
This is exactly why we need intervenors, and more than just one, in Vancouver. DeafBlind individuals are missing so much, the visual and the auditory information both. There is now one intervenor available for DeafBlind persons, but more is needed!
I’d like to close this blog by saying that my Mum has tried, for a long time to learn ASL, and so has my Mom-in-Law. I’d like to inform you that they’ve signed up for ASL lessons at home!
Let us see how they do!