By Victor Oricha
Let me start by saying just a few words about my background. My full name is Victor Oricha. I’m popularly known as Sign With Victor. I am a sign language tutor. Two years ago, I started volunteer basic sign language classes. I’m a passionate advocate of sign language for Deaf children.
Today, I’d like to talk about WHY PARENTS OF DEAF CHILD SHOULD LEARN SIGN LANGUAGE.
My talk is particularly relevant to those who are either parents of a deaf child or siblings/someone close to a deaf child.
How many of you know about the most fundamental needs in our lives? Just every one of you, right?
The most fundamental needs in our lives are shelter, food, and clothes. Physical needs are not the only ones we have but also emotional needs. Emotional needs are what we need to make us feel loved, accepted, secure and understood.
Each of these is driven by language and communication.
Communication barriers or language deprivation is one of the major challenges Deaf people face.
Can you for a moment imagine yourself as a Deaf child? You don’t hear what people are discussing right in front of you. You are unable to respond in a way they understand. How would you feel?
No doubt, you would feel frustrated, hurt, and sad at missing out on important information.
Communication barriers needs to be eliminated to bridge the gap between Deaf children and their hearing parents through sign language. That is, the parents must learn sign language. Unless the communication barrier is managed, it can result in unhealthy relationship between parent/child.
The other day, I read that 90% of Deaf children are born to hearing parents who are not signers and 10% of deaf infants are born to deaf parents who are native signers – automatically removing communication barriers.
When a child is born deaf, it’s normal for parents to be overwhelmed and worried about how the disability will affect his/her future life. I have good news for such: Deafness isn’t the end of life for the child if you take my advice. With sign language, there’s HOPE.
To prevent language deprivation some parents consult professionals to train the child to speak and read lips or use assistive technology like cochlear implants or hearing aids.
While these moves might be helpful, it should be understood that there are limitations. Furthermore, the whole process can be very stressful and complicated.
I therefore strongly recommend that Deaf children should be allowed to acquire the language of signs in inclusive schools or by hiring a special educator or sign language instructor to tutor the deaf child.
Additionally, parents are encouraged to acquire basic sign language so that they can more effectively interact with and educate their child at home. You see, nothing like family bond. Education should kick off from home.
Some say learning sign language is difficult. This is not true. Parents don’t have to master sign language before communication begins. Learning basic sign language is enough for parents to improve their skills as long as they keep in touch with their deaf children.
The benefits of learning sign language are numerous. I will list a few.
Firstly, It encourages parents to fill in deaf child’s curiosity. Moreover, It helps to build a strong connection between hearing parents and deaf children
Secondly, it eliminates feelings of isolation. Isolation at home can cause brain damage. With sign language, parents are better able to meet the emotional needs of the child. This way the child feels loved, confident, secure, and connected to them.
Thirdly, It helps parents to know what their child needs. Furthermore, It boosts a child’s learning development if the child is enrolled in an inclusive school as early as possible.
Finally, It hones a child’s listening skills owing to visual cues which makes for less exhaustion and frustration. Moreover, it helps parents to understand and recognize deaf culture. They are thus able to get across to the child with ease.
Conclusion: It is important for parents to learn basic signs to effectively connect with the Deaf child and understand his/her needs.
Learning sign language can bridge the communication barrier, improve communication skills and help build a better relationship between parent and child.
For sign language consultation feel free to reach out to me on this Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org