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Abstract

There are complexities involved in American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting for the unique population of Deaf individuals with disabilities (DWD), particularly in educational settings, that must be considered. Based on the foundation of existing literature regarding the field of ASL interpreting, educational interpreting, and strategies of working with DWD individuals, the researcher created a theoretical conceptual framework that combined the frameworks of ASL Interpreting and Special Education. The current primary research is aimed at addressing another portion of the gap, that is, research regarding practical experiences in working with this population. This study was conducted through questionnaires sent out through email to ASL interpreters located through snowball sampling. This research seeks to understand the experiences of ASL interpreters who have worked with DWD individuals through participants responses to questions about strategies used, and unique challenges and rewards faced, when working with this population. Responses were dissected through content analysis to uncover trends and themes among the personal experiences of the participants. The researcher uncovered three major themes from these experiences: individualization, flexibility, and collaboration. Much of the data supports the proposed conceptual framework, but more research is needed to corroborate these findings. This research positively impacts the ASL interpreting field by providing insight into an area that currently lacks research and by bringing awareness to the need for more education and training for those who will be working with this exceptional population.

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