Deaf and Hard of Hearing people deserve the right to clear and effective communication, not only morally but legally as well according to the Americans with Disabilties Act. However, Oklahoma, with the fourth largest population of individuals with sensory disabilities (according to the 2000 Census) does not have a Bachelors Degree in Sign Language Interpreting, causing a shortage in the high caliber interpreters that are called for in medical, legal, mental health, and many other settings. Interpreting students moving out of state to pursue higher education also contributes to this shortage.
This year the national Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf instituted a new policy stating before interpreters can take the test for national certification, they must hold a Bachelors Degree. Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City is ready to provide this much needed program. But we need your support to show the Board of Regents that Deaf and Hard of Hearing people deserve qualified sign language interpreters, which would be more accessible when interpreting students have the educational opportunities needed to become the best they can be.