Deaf-mute is a term used referring to individuals who are unable to hear and talk. A person with a hearing impairment or disability may most likely not be able to talk. We can speak because we heard it and if a person has not heard anything since childhood, the greater the chance that he/she could not talk. Deaf-mute individuals can communicate through the use of the sign language.
Deaf-mute is a term which was used historically to identify a person who was either deaf using a sign language or both deaf and could not speak. The term continues to be used to refer to deaf people who cannot speak an oral language or have some degree of speaking ability, but choose not to speak because of the negative or unwanted attention atypical voices sometimes attract. Such people communicate using sign language. Some consider it to be a derogatory term if used outside its historical context; the preferred term today is simply "deaf".
Though there may be some deaf who are not mute because there are people who cannot hear but learned how to talk. But those were rare cases.
Government Programs of Inclusion
RA 10754 otherwise known as An Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons With Disabilities (PWD) has been approved in 2016 to amend RA 7277 giving more benefits to the PWDs in the country. This law provides accessibility, equality in terms of employment, additional discounts to persons with disability.
The government is continuously monitoring the local government units on the implementation of programs to make sure they are complying with the provisions of the law.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Image Credits: AKEA
Here is another law that is giving persons with disabilities an equal access to the use of new technology. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines which provides the rules for web accessibility in order to make these websites accessible to the persons with disabilities. Government websites are required to install this feature to make it easy for those persons with vision impairment.
Similarly, we can see some television shows which have sign language translators in the program. This will allow deaf-mute persons to understand the program.
These initiatives of the government are a big help to those individuals who have some impairments.
Yes, the government has made efforts in order to address the problem. There were schools opened for persons with disabilities. Students with hearing impairment were taught sign language.
But was It Enough to Teach Individuals With Hearing Impairment?
Students with hearing impairment learned sign language. But there is still an issue. Though they are trying to act normally, the society is not prepared for this situation. Most normal people could not communicate using sign language.
I have a nephew who is a deaf-mute and I understand how difficult it is to communicate with him. He is studying in a school for the PWDs and he knows how to communicate using the sign language. However, not all in the family knows how to communicate using the sign language. It was difficult for us to understand him.
In order to break this barrier, we studied sign language using the same book that he was using. That was a great relief that somehow, we could understand him. We are not an expert and we don't use it every day. So there are times that we forget what we learned. We need to refer to the book from time to time. But we have the reference which we could refer to just in case we forgot. Thankfully, the internet made things even easier.
Can We Include Sign Language in the School Curriculum?
I am aware that my nephew is learning the American Sign Language because of the book that he is using. What I am not aware of is if all the schools in the country are using the same reference material? Are the sign language that we know applicable to other places in the country?
While searching for some information, I came across this petition that sign language should be taught in high school.
Setting the Standard Lesson for the Whole Country
For me, it doesn't matter if it would be taught in English or in Filipino. What is important is that the lesson should be uninformed all throughout the country.
Everyone has the right to communication. Sign language is not only for the deaf-mute but for normal people as well. While their goal is to be understood, our aim is to understand.
By learning the sign language, we are removing the barriers to communications. After all, this is the purpose of life.
Those who are handling frontline positions should be required to learn sign language as well. This will enable them to entertain and handle each client effectively. while we are preparing our business establishments to be PWD friendly, let us bear in mind that not all impairments are the inability to move normally but also to be heard.
On the Final Thought...
Those individuals with hearing impairment should not be confined in communicating with fellow PWDs or the community with similar impairments. How can we consider them as part of the society if they only communicate with individuals around their circle? They should be allowed to communicate with everyone.
Here is another video showing the importance of learning sign language...
Thank you, everyone, for reading.
Meanwhile, here is a Querlo Chat for you...
More from this Author:
- Why Should We Include Persons With Disabilities In The Society?
- Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (A Book Review)
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are that of the author and does not in any way represent the agency or department she currently belongs.
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Written for Bitlanders
by Sharon Lopez
Date: June 16, 2018
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