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Is your dealership ‘deaf friendly’?

November 18, 2010

Deafness is the second most common disability, and more than 28 million Americans are deaf or hearing impaired. Figures from the 2000 U.S. Census Bureau show about 700,000 deaf and hard-of-hearing people reside in the Chicago market.


Some dealers have considered providing sign language interpreting services. American Sign Language—a visual and manual language made up of signs created with the hands, facial expressions, and body posture and movement—is the primary language of the "functionally deaf."


When a deaf or hard-of-hearing person buys a car, he needs clear and accurate communication.


"I often rely on a sign language interpreter to make situations more accessible. I prefer to have things presented to me in my native language, ASL," said deaf Chicagoan Raymond Rodgers. Rodgers owns an interpreting referral agency, Deaf Communication By Innovation.


Since both public and private organizations must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which, among other things, regulates communication for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, the demand for interpreters has increased dramatically.


Rodgers recommends dealers to use qualified interpreters from an interpreting referral agency, for the best communication with deaf customers who know ASL.