At Access 2 Sign Language our mission is to achieve the highest standard of sign language interpreting services to positively impact our community through continual development, cultural awareness, and effectively facilitating communication.
Access 2 Sign Language will be the leader of language service provider standards for consumers and employees alike. We believe all Deaf people have the right to qualified communication with equity and impartiality. We envision a world with broken down barriers; one that honors language, linguistic differences, and has cultural knowledge. As part of our purpose we will contribute to a well-informed community, be vigilant in social justice issues, indoctrinate a set of confidentiality standards for language agencies, and grow well-rounded, highly trained experienced service providers.
Owner & Founder Lori Dowds grew up in rural Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas. Her journey to creation of this agency began about thirty years prior. Lori's first born child noticeably did not speak like other children the same age, a concern that led them to seek medical help. At the time, it was assumed that her child was Deaf. Without any hesitation, Lori began to learn sign language with her child. Overtime, it was discovered that her child was on the autism spectrum, rather than being Deaf. Still, her passion for sign language, disability studies, and social justice had emerged. Through rigorous training, education, and learning a second language, Lori became a sign language interpreter. After a decade of working as an interpreter contractor, she developed a desire to better serve her hometown communities and raise professional standards. Herself, along with two previous business partners, sought out to start their own company. Today, Lori is an interpreter, a sociologist, and a disability scholar. She approaches everyday with a deep sense of purpose for her life’s work.
The A2SL Approach
Employee Status: At A2SL, service providers are our employees, rather than contractors that agencies offer. We believe paying taxes at the higher self-employment rate is not a burden the interpreter should have to pay. In addition to paying taxes on our employees behalf, being a W-2 employee provides assistance in enough funds being withheld for taxes.
Insurance: Many interpreting agencies solely maintain interpreters as contractors. Unfortunately, this often results in sign language interpreters and providers being either underinsured or uninsured altogether. You can be assured that our employees are covered with Workers Compensation, General Liability, and additionally with Professional Liability insurance.
Scheduling Interpreters: In our experience, other agencies either have a mass messaging or bid-system approach to scheduling interpreters for appointments. We believe that is detrimental to client preferences, the most qualified provider being placed on the appointment, and foregoes the sensitivity of confidentiality for consumers. Our scheduling takes all pieces into consideration. First, if the client has any known preferences (see Consumer Profile), that provider will be offered the assignment first. They will only receive the date and time of the appointment, with no other appointment information. If they are available, they will then receive the information pertinent to the appointment. If they are unavailable, they receive no further information, and we move on to ask the next most experienced, qualified person who has no personal nor professional conflicts of interest with the appointment. We ask one-by-one, individually and wait for a response before moving on, understanding that the most qualified person is likely on an assignment and unable to respond to a mass message or bid the fastest. This additionally creates a heathier environment among colleagues as they are not competing for assignments on anything other than professional qualifications.
Family: A2SL is locally family owned and locally family operated. We bring our strong sense of family and values into our service. Half of our office staff is currently local to Colorado and half is local to Kansas and are both part of the same Dowds Family. We believe in transparency and being genuine. From first call to invoice processing, our consumers receive just that!
Giving Back: Without the support of our community, none of this would be possible. We pride ourselves in giving back to our community either monetarily or through our services.
Military Community: Most of our office staff have been or currently are spouses of military personnel in our uniformed services. As the presence of military is strong in both our Colorado Springs and Wichita communities, we feel commitment to bridging the gap between our installations and the Deaf community. For critical cultural understanding for service members and for civilian employment of our Deaf consumers on military installations.