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Abstract

Many deaf persons served in mental health settings show significant language dysfluency in the best language, usually ASL. Sign language dysfluency in deaf people has four major causes: neurological problems associated with the etiology of deafness, language deprivation, aphasias, and psychotic disorders. Each cause can effect language development and usage in a particular way. In this article, numerous examples of sign language dysfluency are offered along with a discussion of their implications for interpreting, especially in mental health settings. The authors draw upon the Demand- Control interpreting approach of Dean and Pollard to illustrate interpreter decision-making when faced with the challenge of dysfluent language. The advantages and disadvantages of collaboration with deaf interpreters are reviewed. Finally, suggestions for best practice in interpreting for language dysfluent deaf persons in mental health settings are reviewed.

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