Ronnie has a wheelchair basketball tournament coming up in a few weeks. It will be held at one of our local universities, and is sponsored by Sportable, an organization in our area that is committed to providing adaptive sports opportunities for people from age five to age 90.
Ronnie is the only Deaf player on the team. We've spent the last week or so trying to figure out how he will know if the referee blows his whistle, and how the coach can convey play strategy to Ronnie.
I think we have figured out the whistle thing with the help of the women's basketball coach from Gallaudet University. When Ronnie's teammates hear the whistle, they will put their arms in the air thus alerting Ronnie.
But the coaching instructions are a bit more difficult. We have experimented with the coach having a blue tooth headset and communicating via an IPhone dictation app to Ronnie. But, doing it that way is a little cumbersome. The ideal solution would be to have an interpreter.
But interpreters are really expensive.
In the past, we had a volunteer and that worked really well. Unfortunately our volunteer moved away, and I haven't had much luck finding another volunteer. So one of the options we had been exploring was to ask the university where the tournament is being held to provide interpreters for the day.
They declined, saying they felt it was Sportable's responsiblity to provide the interpreters.
Two conflicting opinions have been voiced. One, the interpreting company feels that the university is just as responsible for interpreters as they are for accessible bathrooms, wheelchair ramps, and such. In a very impassioned email on the subject, the head of the interpreting company wrote:
Does this mean that if your child was in a wheelchair they’d put a lock on the handicap-accessible bathroom door? Put gates in front of ramps? Would you have to find a volunteer to carry your child (and wheelchair) into the building? Put a diaper on him (since he wouldn’t be able to get into the bathroom)?
The other opinion says it is indeed Sportable's responsiblity to provide interpreters since they are the ones running the tournament. Unfortunately, Sportable, being a non-profit that has a shoestring budget, cannot afford to do that.
So I am just wondering - whose opinion do you think is correct?