Please don't forget sign language for the deaf

Monday, 24 March 2008 00:00 Written by  Joseph Mbulamwana

Over 70% of the deaf people in Uganda are either born deaf and never heard any spoken language or were born hearing but lost the hearing before learning the mother tongue or spoken language of the community.

These two categories of deaf fully depend on sign language which is actually their mother tongue! It is this lack of mother language by most deaf people especially those born in hearing families without sign language communication skills that partly retard the education of the deaf in Uganda.

Whereas a hearing child will have mastered the mother tongue by the time of joining school, a deaf one will first experience that when opportunity to enrol in school where sign language is taught is accorded to him or her. This implies that for the first few years a deaf child will be struggling to learn the mother tongue instead of the school subjects.

Consequently, a deaf child without basic knowledge of sign language cannot learn even if the teacher is fluent in sign language. At the end of the day such a child will drop out of school or perform very poorly.

Joseph Mbulamwana
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Source: The New Vision