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New Mexico State University
New Mexico State University

Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Information that will help you better serve the Deaf or hard of hearing student -

  1. Be sure you’ve been introduced to the interpreter.
  2. Be sure that the interpreter and student(s) are seated for best advantage before the class begins.

In class lecturing:

  • DO lecture at a normal rate and volume. During class, if you are speaking too fast, if someone speaks inaudibly, or if several people talk at once, the interpreter or student will bring this to your attention if changes are needed. Similarly, if the interpreter voices the deaf student’s remarks in an unintelligible manner, you or the hearing students are responsible to ask for clarification.
  • DO NOT hand out papers/handouts and continue talking if you want the student to read what you have handed out. Deaf and Hard of Hearing students cannot work on paperwork or other projects and listen/watch the interpreter at the same time. They have to either watch the interpreter/listen to the professor, OR work on or read what ever you hand out to them.
  • DO provide the interpreter with any written material (syllabus, etc.) you provide the students, and/or give them access to Blackboard messages and information.
  • DO be aware that using slides or overheads presents the following challenge– Because the interpreter will be a few words or sentences behind you, referring to slides or overheads with words such as “here”, “there”, “this” or “that” can be confusing to the student, so DO be specific about what you are pointing to so the interpreter can accurately interpret the message.
  • DO position the computer monitor screen, if possible, where the interpreter can see what is being projected on the large screen, as s/he cannot turn around and see what is being referred to behind him/her while interpreting.
  • DO NOT expect to see the deaf student and the interpreter conversing between themselves unless it is for the generally permissible clarification of some brief remark, signed, spoken or spelled during the class time. Private conversations are considered detrimental to the interpreter’s maintaining his or her role, and would also be distracting to you and the class.
  • DO expect that a notetaker will be necessary because it is not possible for the student to watch the interpreter or lip-read AND take notes. Please ask the students present during the first class who will volunteer to take notes for the student, or if you know of an excellent student in the class who will be good at taking clear notes, please feel free to approach the student individually and request their assistance. The notetaker can contact the Student Accessibility Services office to get hired for pay for providing this service.

Class Participation:

  • Should you assign presentations to the students, please note that deaf students should be expected to present as well. Many deaf individuals can speak quite well and if they don’t feel comfortable speaking in front of the class, they will prepare their presentation with their interpreter who will voice for them.
  • DO monitor class discussions in such a way as to allow the deaf student the opportunity to participate, as they will be a step behind the flow of the discussion due to watching the interpreter. Turn taking, having individuals who wish to speak raise their hands, sitting in a circle, and other such techniques help to include the deaf student in discussions.

Audio components to instruction:

  • DO make sure any use of videotapes and/or DVDs during the semester are accessible to the student with a hearing loss. Many videotapes/DVDs are already close-captioned, and the NMSU “smart classrooms” are equipped with the technology to access the captioning. If you will use a videotape/DVD that is NOT captioned, consult with the student to determine what s/he prefers: having the interpreter interpret the video OR reading a transcription. If the student prefers to use the interpreter, there must be sufficient light in the room to illuminate the interpreter. If the student prefers to read a transcription, or if you are not sure if your videotape/DVD is captioned or how to decode the captioning, please call our office at (575) 646-6840 and we will be happy to assist you.
  • DO let the interpreter know if you expect to use any special audio-visual equipment (including showing videotapes) at least one class session in advance, as the interpreter may need to prep for interpreting this media and will need access to seeing it and planning how best to interpret it prior to the next class. If you will be showing films, slides or videotapes, the interpreter may need to request an interpreter’s lamp and/or verify access to Closed Captions.
  • DO provide access to all links to video clips, YouTube videos, ITunes you and other audio media shown in class, attached to Blackboard or in other ways assigned to students as part of the instruction of the class by captioning them or providing a transcript.

Changes to class schedule:

  • DO give our office more than 24-hour notice if you plan to cancel a class. The service providers will be paid for cancelled classes unless we can inform them with more than 24- hour notice. You can also work out other means of informing the interpreter of changes to the class schedule directly with the interpreter, but our office still needs to be informed so that scheduled work time and their time sheets are congruent. Should class be canceled with less than 24-hrs notice, please advise our office as soon as possible so we can inform the interpreter and keep our records straight.
  • DO give at least one week’s notice prior to assigning additional class time for field trips, study sessions, or other assigned events in order to make finding an interpreter for these events more likely. Scheduling through the interpreter coordinator at the SAS office is important in order to assure proper access and approval of interpreter payment.
  • DO call the interpreter coordinator should you need to meet with a student after class, or to schedule a time to meet with the student outside of class. The interpreter’s schedule may not allow for after-class discussions to be interpreted, as interpreters often leave one class to interpret for another. Likewise, they cannot be expected to stay and interpret if your class runs over. Let the interpreter coordinator know so we can properly schedule the interpreters to accommodate you should you need him/her to stay late regularly.

Ethics and etiquette for interpreters and notetakers:

  • Interpreters and notetakers (unless the notetaker is a student enrolled in the class), are not to participate in the class other than to facilitate the communication or take notes.
  • Interpreters adhere to a strict code of ethics for their profession and are there strictly to facilitate communication between the Deaf individual and those s/he interacts with and are not to share their own opinions, or participate in discussions. (If for any reason, you have a question about or difficulty with an interpreter’s behavior while on the job, please contact the interpreter coordinator immediately.)
  • You can help the interpreter stay in his or her role by not speaking directly to the interpreter or asking questions of him or her during the class period. The interpreter will not feel free to answer for himself or herself until after the class is over.

Interpreter/Coordinator Contact

Please know that our office is always available and willing to assist. Should the student in your class be having problems, please let me know as I can provide tutoring and other supports as well. Interpreters do not relay information to me in regard to how the student is doing.
For any further assistance call: (575) 635-8081 (cell-best way to reach Bonnie Smith, Interpreter Coordinator) or (575) 646-2592 (office) or e-mail: bonniels@nmsu.edu or lavlight@ureach.com. The Student Accessibility Service Office number is (575) 646-6840.