At SLS, we are dedicated to providing our customers and anyone else in the community access to valuable industry resources, education materials and links, and information to help you with complaints or legal issues. Click on of the links below.

“Know Your Rights – Disability Rights”

DARS Resources

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

This following link will open or download a PDF with instructions on reporting abuse.

Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services
This link has general and main phone numbers for Deaf and Interpreter resources.
This link gives you a search form to verify an interpreters certification.
Services for establishing independent living for persons with disabilities.

If you want a Certified Interpreter for any DARS sponsored activity such as higher education, trade school appointments, etc., you may request from your local DARS counselor. Below is a link to the DARS in Austin, TX who will assist in the process if needed.

Angela Feltner – [email protected]

Here is the regulation stating that it is required to use a Certified Sign Language Interpreter, when available.

13.5 Interpreter Services for the Deaf

(Revised 03/09)
An interpreter conveys messages between people without contributing to the dialogue.

DRS uses interpreter services to facilitate consumer communication in the rehabilitation process. *Interpreter services are provided by qualified personnel and include sign language and oral interpretation for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing and tactile interpretation for persons who are deaf-blind.*
*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.48(j)
*Interpreter services are exempt from policy establishing economic need.*
*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.54(b)(3)(i)(G)
The state coordinator for deaf and hard of hearing services can help with obtaining interpreter services.

13.5.1 Maintaining Consumer Confidentiality

Inform the interpreter and consumer that information provided is maintained in confidence (see DARS Business Procedures Manual, Chapter 20: Confidentiality and Use of Consumer Records and Information).

13.5.2 Using Certified Interpreters

(Revised 04/12)
You must use certified interpreters when possible.

For a list of certified interpreters, use the BEI Interpreter List. For more information, and to access the necessary ID name and password, refer to the DHHS Resources page. A certified interpreter is one who holds at least one current certificate of competency from one of the following organizations:

The National Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID):

  • Interpreter Certificate
  • Transliteration Certificate
  • Reverse Skills Certificate
  • Comprehensive Skills Certificate
  • Masters Comprehensive Skills Certificate
  • Legal Skills Certificate

The Board for Evaluation of Interpreters of the DRS Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services (DHHS):

  • Level I
  • Level II
  • Level III Certificate
  • Level IV Certificate
  • Level V Certificate
  • Basic
  • Advanced
  • Master

A DRS employee who is competent in sign language may facilitate communication between DRS staff and the consumer or other people who are deaf inside the office or related setting. A DRS employee may not serve as an interpreter during an appeal process (see Chapter 18: Consumer Rights and Legal Issues, 18.3 Appeal and Mediation Procedures). Do not use the services of a DRS employee for consumer communication outside the office except as a last resort.

Additional information on certification levels and recommended settings is available at the DHHS Web page Situations and Recommended Interpreter Certification Levels.

13.5.3 Using Noncertified Interpreters

(Revised 02/10)

When a certified interpreter is not available, you may use a non certified interpreter who is otherwise competent to interpret. In these cases, get the consumer’s written approval before hiring the interpreter.

You may not use a non certified interpreter in the following settings:

  • medical
  • legal
  • psychiatric
13.5.4 Purchasing Interpreter Services

Ordinarily, payment for interpreter services must not exceed the established DRS Fee Schedule. You should make every effort to plan service delivery according to the regular (day) rates. For specific rates and interpreter policy, see DHHS Communication Access Maximum Rates.

13.5.5 Colleges and Universities

DRS has contracts with several colleges and universities to offset part of the cost for interpreter services, and rates are determined by the contract terms. Therefore, fees in the DRS Fee Schedule do not apply to contracted institutions unless noted in the terms of the contract.

Payments made to colleges and universities that are not under a DRS contract must comply with the established DRS Fee Schedule.

Educational Resources
Educational Resource Center on Deafness – Spanish and English information available. Reading program for Deaf and families of Deaf. Free ASL tutoring for families of Deaf children conducted in Spanish and English.

From their website:

Welcome to Texas School for the Deaf, a place where students who are deaf or hard of hearing including those with additional disabilities, have the opportunity to learn, grow and belong in a culture that optimizes individual potential and provides accessible language and communication across the curriculum. Our educational philosophy is grounded in the belief that all children who are deaf and hard of hearing deserve a quality language and communication-driven program that provides education together with a critical mass of communication, age, and cognitive peers, as well as language- proficient teachers and staff who communicate directly in the child’s language.

Texas School for the Deaf is established as a state agency to provide a continuum of direct educational services to students, ages zero through twenty-one, who are deaf or hard of hearing and who may have multiple disabilities. TSD is also directed to serve as a statewide educational resource center on deafness, providing a variety of educational services to families, students, programs and professionals throughout the state working with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. Texas Education Code §30.051-30.059.
Great educational link for Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
1-800-949-4ADA (free technical assistance hotline)

Legal Resources

Information on how to file a complaint if you’re being denied an interpreter or have been assigned an unqualified interpreter.

To file a complaint against an interpreter certified by the Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services a BEI general complaint form may be completed and returned to DHHS within 90 days of incident. Complaints may also be filed in the form of a letter, e-mail, fax, or DVD, to the BEI office listed on the website link above.

Amanda Tuite
Communication Access Specialist
Office of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services
Rehabilitate & Social Services Section
Health & Human Services Commission
[email protected]