DPDC Discussions: Should my deaf child use a Level 6 interpreter or a CSW?

Question: My child (4) has a Level 6 Interpreter at school. Everyone seems to have different views on whether a child should have an interpreter or CSW.  Some say that a child of 4 will struggle with the concept of an interpreter and a softer/caring approach of a CSW would be better. What are your views and experiences?

The general consensus was that it was important to find the right person for your child. Most importantly this person needs to have Level 6 BSL, or be currently working to achieve the qualification.

The person you choose needs to have the right attitude and is good with your child and the other children in the class. The interpreter would need to be happy to sit on the floor and adapt to the classroom environment.

In most cases it is down to luck and finding an interpreter who can commit to working school hours.

One parent says that he/she was advised that a deaf child aged 3-6 is not properly equipped to work with an interpreter, as the concept of the interpreter translating everything the teacher says is difficult to grasp.  The advice that the parent got was that a child aged 3-6 should be given a CSW, and then when the time is right the child should transition to using an interpreter.

One parent said that his/her reception child (aged 4) has learnt to use an interpreter and has developed a great working relationship. At first, when the teacher asked a question to the class, the child would respond with the correct answer, the interpreter would remind the child that he/she needs to raise his/her hand first to give the answer. The child would do this, but would give an incorrect answer the second time as he/she thought the first answer was incorrect as the interpreter didn’t validate/praise it.  This child quickly grasped the mechanics of the process and now raises his/her hand and waits for the teacher to ask for the answer via the interpreter.

The parent who has a child in reception (aged 4) uses the same interpreter 5 days a week and the interpreter does not need breaks as the intensity/learning level is at a slower pace with lots of play time and short breaks factored in anyway. The same interpreter advises that another interpreter needs to be employed as a co-worker when the child gets older as the learning/teaching intensity is greater.

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