|Oregon State Bar Bulletin NOVEMBER 2008|
Clearing the Misconceptions
On behalf of the Disability Services Advisory Council, I would like to thank you for following up on our request for publication of an article addressing the rights of people with disabilities. The article "You Are Us" (February/March 2008) is a good reminder to Oregon attorneys of their responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
However, there remain some misconceptions. For example, with all due respect to the gentleman who made the comment, whether an attorney should have an interpreter present when communicating with a deaf client should not be based on the length of the meeting alone; consideration must be given to the client’s level of comfort with communicating in English. American Sign Language (ASL) is not English. As a result, some deaf people who communicate using ASL have very low reading comprehension skills. A written note may be as unhelpful to them as it would be to a Spanish speaker from Mexico who has limited English language abilities.
The Disability Services Advisory Council strives not only to promote awareness of the problems faced by Oregonians who have disabilities, but to seek solutions as well. We would be happy to assist the Oregon State Bar with future articles that address these problems. We would also be willing to participate in the organization and presentation of continuing legal education programs.
Jack Oliver, chair
Disability Services Advisory Council, Central Point, Ore.
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The Bulletin welcomes letters. In general, letters should pertain to recent articles, columns or other letters and should be limited to 250 words. Other things to keep in mind:
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Send letters to: Editor, OSB Bulletin, P.O. Box 231935, Tigard, OR 97281