Best Practices in Working With School Interpreters to Deliver Psychological Services to Children and Families
Lopez, Emilia C.
Thomas, Alex; Grimes, Jeff
National Association of School Psychologists, Washington, DC, 2002.
A significant number of students in our schools speak languages other than English and demonstrate limited proficiency in English. The U.S. Department of Education (1998) estimated that between 1996 and 1997 approximately 8% of students enrolled in grades K-12 were English language learners (ELL), defined as students whose first language is not English and who are in the process of learning English. The families of many of our ELLs are also limited in their abilities to communicate in English. Cambodian, Cantonese, Hmong, Korean, Laotian, Navajo, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Russian are some of the most common languages spoken by linguistically diverse students and their families (Fleischman & Hopstock, 1993). As a result of the large influx of immigrants from diverse cultural backgrounds, statistical projections indicate that the number of immigrant children and adults who speak languages other than English will increase in the twenty-first century (U.S. Department of Education, 1998). As the number of ELLs increase, there is a greater need for bilingual school personnel. The reauthorization of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Amendments of 1997 states that students who are referred for special education evaluations should be assessed in their native languages. IDEA also states that the parents of children who are referred for special education assessment or services must be notified of their rights in their native languages either in written format or via oral translation. However, a frequent problem encountered in our schools is a shortage of bilingual personnel who can communicate with such a linguistically and culturally diverse student population. In an effort to communicate with ELLs and their families, school psychologists sometimes use the services of school interpreters (Lopez, 2000; Ochoa, Gonzalez, Galarza, & Guillemard, 1996). The purposes of this chapter are to discuss the process of using interpreters and to provide some recommendations for school psychologists working with interpreters. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved) (Source: chapter)