Sign Language Cell
The world has diverse human beings of varied culture based on caste, colour, race, creed, etc. To this diverse humanity, another particular community is getting included. This particular community even though being part of human race is considered rather different, because of their disabilities. These disabilities may be physical or sensory.
The National Sample Survey 58th round(2002) surveyed disability in India and has identified that hearing impairment which accounted for 9% of all disabilities in urban and 10% in rural areas as the 2nd most common disability.
National Association for deaf ( N.A.D, 2002 believes that there are more hearing disabled persons in India than the 1, 261, 722 persons that are listed in the 2001 census report of India. It is estimated that approximately 291 persons per one lakh population (National Sample Survey Organizations 2002) are hard of hearing in India.
According to Prof. Saurabh Varshney, Professor and Head, Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, All Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh, Uttarkhand, India:-
- 63 million people in Indi (6.3%) are suffering from hearing loss.
- Four min every 1000 children suffer from server to profound hearing loss (this loss is calculated as per the guidelines laid out by the ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India vide notification number 16-18/97-NI dated June 1,2001).
- According to Prof Saurabh, based on WHO Deafness and Hearing Impairment – Fact Sheet: April 2010 report and accessed on 2016 February, there are 360 million people who suffer room disabling hearing loss i.e., 5.3% of world’s population.
Need to Learn Sign Language
Among hearing loss people, restricted access to communicate can have a significant impact on everyday life, causing feeling of solitude, seclusion and dissatisfaction. The language for the Deaf is Sign Language.
The problem of the Deaf is not their lack of hearing but the lack of understanding by the hearing people that the Deaf have a language. Sign languages are the native languages of the Deaf community and provide full access to communication. Although sign languages are used primarily by people who are deaf, they are also used by others, such as people who can hear but can't speak.
Sign language is how the hearing impaired express their feelings, contribute to a conversation, learn, and overall live their lives as normal as possible. Many high schools, colleges, and universities are introducing sign language classes into their course catalogs, and rightfully so. Being that it is 2016 and there are widespread pushes toward equality and inclusion, sign language should be included in this worldly push.
The learning of Sign Language develops awareness and sensitivity and is the best means of fostering understanding between people who are hard of hearing and those who are not. Sign language is a medium of communication one’s thought and ideas through facial expressions, hand shapes and finger spelling.
To enable students to know basic vocabulary and possess basic grammar skills for communication through sign language.
- To facilitate genuine interaction of students with others, both hearing and deaf.
- To enable students to use basic strategies for establishment and maintenance of conversations and relationships.
- To encourages socialization among the hearing and the deaf.
- To make students to have a basic understanding of Deaf Culture including exposure to sign language literature and art.
Learning Sign Language is a great way to start to learn more about deaf culture, and has other benefits for anyone that learns it as well!
- Gives Your Brain a Good Workout: Learning any languages will help to stimulate your brain and give it a good workout. Sign languages are no different. By that, I mean it can enhance its cognition, your creative thinking, brain functionality, memory, spatial awareness, mental rotation skills and more.
- Introduces You to the Deaf Culture & Community: When you learn a new oral language, you get to learn a lot about the country, the culture and the people of the country of that particular language. It’s like a by-product of learning a language. It’s the same thing when it comes to learning sign language, as there is such a thing as a Deaf culture and Deaf community with its own rich history too.
- Become Better at Spelling: If there isn’t a sign for them or you don’t know, knowing the spelling is useful as you will need to fingerspell those words or at the very least, write them down.
- Become bilingual: The users of sign language are often bilingual - one language is sign language (e.g. American Sign Language) and the other is the language of the hearing majority (e.g. English), often in its written form. This is termed bimodal bilingualism. Deaf bilinguals share many similarities with hearing bilingual
- Improves Peripheral Vision & Reaction Time: These same scientists have found that “deaf people have exceptional visual abilities that hearing adults do not”.
- Have private conversations in public: This will only work if the conversation can’t be seen by someone who knows a sign language. Sign languages can be a great way to gossip without anyone else knowing, and passing on confidential information. We know more than a few kids who learned a bit of sign language with their friends so they could talk in class without their teachers knowing!
- It is a beautiful language: It’s expressive. It’s fascinating. It’s unique. It’s graceful. It’s beautiful.