Like so many other experiences in her life, Zoe’s medical appointments were isolating. Her mother was able to communicate through a Spanish interpreter, but nine-year-old Zoe—who is deaf—didn’t have anyone who was fluent in the language she recently learned: American Sign Language (ASL).
“She had a hard time sitting through appointments and would try to run out,” said Zoe’s mother, Gladys.
Gladys knows some ASL and is in classes to learn more, but she was unable to relay everything to her daughter during appointments.
“I discovered Zoe’s language requirements when I reviewed her chart before our first meeting,” said Dr. Abby Hendricks. “I felt it was critical to get an ASL interpreter so Zoe could experience her appointment as fully as any other child.”
Dr. Hendricks consulted her colleague Jacquie, a Language Access Specialist, who worked with her team to find an ASL interpreter to join Zoe’s appointment that day.
Once together, the team tackled some long-standing challenges. Zoe was set to begin medication for a recent diagnosis of ADHD and had other behavioral and nutritional concerns to address. They also discussed communication challenges at home and Dr. Hendricks identified assistive technologies to explore.
Their initial appointment lasted two hours and Zoe remained engaged for the duration.
“The ASL interpreter made such a difference,” said Gladys. “I didn’t know that was even possible before this appointment.”
Dr. Hendricks was delighted to see Zoe truly participate as part of her own care team for the first time.
“When we connect, we are able to make progress,” said Dr. Hendricks. “I am so proud to be a part of a team that makes things like this happen.”