Advocating for SSPs



Video description: A close up of a woman signing into the camera.

Title Slide: Strategies that have been found helpful in advocating for and working with SSPs.

I would now like to give you a few strategies to advocate for SSP services.

Title Slide: 1. Be Aware of your needs and be prepared to explain them to others

First and foremost, you must be able to identify what your needs are.  Not only must you understand what your needs are but be able to articulate them.  One example may be what specific accommodations you need to communicate.  You need to be able to explain to the SSP what your expectations are and what kind of visual and environmental information is important to you. Not only is content important but how you want that information conveyed.  The SSP needs to know will you be using tactile sign language or perhaps an FM system and again how that SSP can accommodate those needs.

Title Slide: 2. Educate those around you.

You need to teach the SSP how to work with you. This time to educate the SSP, it’s really for that give and take where you really explain what your needs are.  Telling your SSP what you need and why is such an important piece so they will work with you effectively.  You may need to educate your family or boss about the value of an SSP and what you need them for.  You will need to be explicit in how this person benefits you in terms of accessibility to your environment and impact on your life.

Title Slide: 3. Be Aware of your Rights:

You will also need to be aware of what your rights are and what is and what is not protected under law.  The Americans with Disabilities Act is not 100% full proof.  It does not have specific language pertaining to SSPs.  However, there is hope that in the future amendments could be made to the ADA and language might be added to include the provision of SSP’s so that it might be strengthened.

Title Slide: 4. Consider the Viewpoint of Others

Remember we are building relationships between the SSP and the consumer and there are always two sides.  Try to look at both perspectives when working with an SSP.  When you explain your needs to an SSP do so tactfully, without yelling at the SSP. If the SSP doesn’t understand what you are trying to explain don’t get angry.  Maybe they are not familiar with the task at hand and simply don’t get it.  Just keep in mind that you might need to repeat yourself once or twice.

Title Slide: Advocating for an SSP at Work

You can advocate for SSP services.  For example, suppose your job calls for you to take a trip out of town.  You might be heading to a conference where an interpreter is provided for you and your boss expects that you will be able to travel alone.  You are an adept cane user, you have traveled independently before, you have excellent communication skills and perhaps a guide dog. So, your boss would expect you to go it alone.  You, however, may feel differently.  You might worry about getting lost.  You may not be comfortable in unfamiliar environments.  How would you find a restroom if needed or get to the conference center?  Logistically where is your hotel, where is your room?  How would you navigate the conference itself?  Explaining your concerns to your boss allows him to see your perspective and perhaps accommodate you. He may not even realize what he’s missing.  So tactfully explaining what your needs are could help you get what you need.

Title Slide: Advocating for an SSP in a Personal Setting

Regardless of whether an SSP is used in a personal capacity or a professional one you have the right to advocate for one to be independent.  Perhaps you are at the point where relying on your spouse or your children has become burdensome.  Or perhaps they are often telling you what to do rather than follow your wishes.  Advocating and accessing SSP services could afford you well needed boundaries.  Someone who could accompany you to community events, social gatherings, church or work. The use of an SSP could provide that independence.