Immersion conference serves half the states educational interpreters

For the seventh year, ISD hosted an immersion conference for Iowa’s educational interpreters. With 63 registrations, we provided workshops and a voices-off opportunity to about half the educational interpreters in Iowa June 14-16. This year’s location was in Ames.

This American Sign Language immersion experience provides interpreters the opportunity to practice and use only ASL throughout the entire conference. This is especially helpful for interpreters who do not have other ASL fluent adults with whom to converse through the year. Many interpreters only use ASL for interpreting, and not conversationally.

National presenters provided insight on the topic of language deprivation. Language deprivation is when children are in the critical age of language acquisition (about their first five years of age) and they do not receive enough or full language access. Language deprivation can impact long-term neurological development. Interpreters at the conference learned academic and social-emotional effects of language deprivation and how to better work with these students.

CEUs were offered for interpreters. For the first time, teachers of the deaf were invited to attend. The event is supported financially through Part B grant funding.

“There is always something to take away and apply to my interpreting,” said Kelly Panosh, an interpreter at Cedar Rapids School District, who has attended several immersion workshops hosted by ISD. “The conference pushes me out of my comfort zone and really helps me to look at my interpreting and how I can best improve for the betterment of the students I serve.“