Staff Reporter

COIMBATORE: Schools for the hearing impaired should focus on teaching sign language, said K. Murali, Director of Deaf Leaders, an organisation working for the empowerment of people with hearing impairment, in Coimbatore.

The organisation conducted an English sign language training camp for people with hearing impairment recently.

“Most of the schools follow oral teaching methods and the teachers themselves are unaware of the importance of sign language,” Mr. Murali said.

Unless children with hearing impairment were trained in sign language from an early age, they would find it difficult to go in for higher education.

Most parents too were unaware of this and discouraged their children from using sign language, he said.

The Government should support sign language so that schools would take it more seriously. Also, sign language was designed only in English and not in any other regional Indian language.

Students with hearing impairment studying in State Board schools would find it difficult to cope with the syllabus.

Hence, more research has to be done to develop a sign language dictionary in the language of each State in the country.

And, adequate training should be given to the special teachers, Mr. Murali observed.

Compared to people with other disabilities, those with hearing impaired were found to score less academically.

Only 10 per cent of them were doing well. The organisation had tied up with several organisations working for people with hearing impairment and was planning workshops and training modules on sign language.