Louisville's deaf community tries to save a program that trains interpreters - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville's deaf community tries to save a program that trains interpreters

Louisville's deaf community continues its efforts to save a program that trains interpreters for the deaf.

Louisville has Kentucky's largest population of deaf citizens, and that community insists it makes no sense to stop training interpreters when there is already a shortage statewide.

U of L's first Deaf Awareness Day showed that deaf people can easily communicate among themselves.  But in places like schools, courts, and hospitals, they often need an interpreter as they deal with the hearing community.

In June, Fox 41's Dick Irby explained that Eastern Kentucky University was preparing to shut down the popular interpreter training program it has operated on the U of L campus.  Supporters were trying to persuade U of L to keep the program going.

Maura Hencker of the American Sign Language Association says, "We were told budget constraints did not permit setting up an interpreter program, but I feel there is still a way that could be found."

While U of L has made no move to keep interpreter training alive, a Deaf Awareness Day Survey being done here on Wednesday is aimed at showing there is great interest in both interpreter training and American Sign Language."

And Fran Hardin of the Kentucky School for the Deaf explains, "This summer, we had many, many school districts looking for interpreters."

The Kentucky School for the Deaf is among organizations who insist it doesn't make sense to stop training local interpreters when the demand for them is growing.  The state says it is looking at options out of state, which many advocates for the deaf say doesn't make sense when a good in-state program already exists.

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