Socializing with people who cannot talk is a challenge to us as persons. Sometimes, we want to communicate with them but how to make them understand what we want to say serves as a barrier making communication ineffective. Victims of such disability also find it hard to communicate with society. They use ‘’sign language’’ which is hard for majority of the general public to comprehend. It is amazing how two or more victims can talk to each other and express emotions just like abled persons with only body gestures.
There have been many speeches, talks and programs which aimed at initiating the deaf into society to make them feel loved, accepted and above all, assisting them to take part in social activities. Many measures have been propounded but then I ask, have they been practiced? If yes, did they prove fruitful?. On a general look, it seems the problem still stands and its alive more than ever. These challenged persons hardly have their cries heard nor take part in expressing their views about policies being initiated in the country.
As a country, have we ever thought of making Sign Language a subject for primary and junior high school? I know some students will critique this matter due to the numerous subjects they are being bombarded with but then, lets look at the brighter side of such initiative. Children like to interact a lot among themselves and if the deaf find him or herself among such children, he or she feels odd and left out just because each party is unable to understand each other but if these children learn the sign language, it will make it easier for them to communicate and get along and as they grow, it becomes part of them which helps in the socializing process as time goes, for the future generation to inculcate.
I therefore suggest that, this should not necessarily be a subject which will demand examinations so as not to over burden our younger ones.
There can be ways to make students serious about the course in case it is initiated which can include periodical trips to the deaf schools and centers for the normal children to communicate and socialize with these unfortunate children. This will boost their confidence when they are around others and help them to open up more.
Private individuals and organizations can establish institutions to teach parents and other interested persons to help them communicate with such people. Not only will it provide job opportunities for people but will provide victims chances to try other job opportunities since their thoughts can be understood and response could be given. Just imagine the joy a parent will have when he or she can understand the thoughts of his or her challenged child and be able to respond without hesitation.
Furthermore, Government and NGOs should provide the needed resources for the various deaf schools to promote their teaching and learning. America School for the Deaf since 1817 have developed their environment in terms of its infrastructure, tools and equipment for teaching and learning which include the provision of cochlear implants to assist victims’ pickup sounds from their environment. I therefore entreat the education sector and the general public to help in the best possible way that they can to provide a better education for such schools available in the country.
I have experienced such interactions recently and I must say, it was really fun and educative. Seeing Memphis Depay with his crew staying overnight with the students of the Cape Coast school for the Deaf and Blind is an inspiration enough to join in the course so not to make them feel isolated in their own world. I say, let’s take this step and involve our brothers, sisters, children, mothers and fathers who are challenged in society and let’s not leave them isolated.
#LET THEIR THOUGHTS BE HEARD!
Afua Aprakuwa Boafo
Communication Studies student @ UCC and writer at mchaymaker.com
Follow on IG @Naana Aprakuwa