Emily MasonFollow

Publication Date



College of Arts and Sciences


American Sign Language and Interpreting


American Sign Language, Interpreting, d/Deaf, d/Deaf with disabilities


American Sign Language | Disability and Equity in Education | Language Interpretation and Translation | Modern Languages | Special Education and Teaching


American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting for d/Deaf individuals with disabilities (DWD) is a complex task, and one which lacks an adequate research-base to inform best practices. Using the foundation of existing literature on closely related topics such as the field of ASL interpreting, educational interpreting, education of DWD individuals, and research about specific disabilities occurring with d/Deafness, I compiled a literature review and created a theoretical conceptual framework concerning this topic. In further investigation of this subject, I also conducted a qualitative study through online questionnaires sent out by email to ASL interpreters located through snowball sampling. The data collected included participants’ responses to open-ended questions about strategies used, and unique challenges and rewards faced, when working with this unique population. Data was analyzed through content analysis to uncover primary themes and trends prevalent throughout participants’ responses, in order to better understand the practical experiences of ASL interpreters working with DWD individuals. The major themes discovered were individualization, flexibility, and collaboration, three concepts that largely fit with existing practices in the fields of special education and ASL interpreting. This research positively impacts the field of ASL interpreting by beginning to establish a framework for further research on this topic, as well as by laying the foundation for a guidebook of suggested practices for interpreting for d/Deaf individuals with various disabilities, drawn from existing literature in the fields of special education and ASL interpreting and from primary research.


This thesis is divided into two sections. The first portion includes a literature review and findings from my primary research study. The second portion is a practical guidebook with information and strategies for ASL interpreters working with the population of d/Deaf individuals with disabilities.

Creative Portion- Full Third Draft .docx (4392 kB)
A Practical Guide: This guidebook contains disability-specific information and strategies to help ASL interpreters working with DWD individuals.