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(6.13) What if I do not speak English or English is not my first language?

(6.13) What if I do not speak English or English is not my first language?

Regional centers must respect the language needs of your child and family.[1]Section 4502.1(b). Good communication is essential. If you (the child’s parent or guardian) do not speak or understand English, or are more comfortable speaking a different language, tell the regional center at the first intake meeting.

If you need an interpreter, tell the regional center as soon as possible. You can have an interpreter at every meeting, including your child’s intake meeting and phone calls.[2]Section 4646(j)(1). You can also bring a friend or family member who speaks English to help you and your child. But, the regional center cannot make you bring someone to get out of hiring an interpreter. If you need an interpreter to appeal a regional center decision, the regional center must hire and pay for an interpreter at the informal meeting to try to resolve the dispute.[3]Section 4710.8(c).

You also have the right to have your child’s IPP (and other documents) translated.[4]Section 4646(j)(2). If the regional center will not translate your child’s documents or provide an interpreter, call Disability Rights California.

1 Section 4502.1(b).
2 Section 4646(j)(1).
3 Section 4710.8(c).
4 Section 4646(j)(2).