Wednesday 20th September 2023:
The theme for day 3 of International Week of Deaf people sets its focus on the notion- Realising “Nothing Without Us”. The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) wants to emphasise the importance of highlighting your collaboration with deaf communities across the globe.
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) Article 4.3 outlines that all governments have an obligation to consult with organisations of deaf people on all matters concerning deaf people. All projects or initiatives regarding deaf people and sign languages must involve, from the outset, representatives of recognised deaf organisations. Unfortunately, deaf people are sometimes excluded from participation in teaching sign languages or conducting research on national sign languages. Indeed, this needs to be changed so that deaf people can participate in activities related to their languages.
To highlight their solidarity with deaf people, the WFD now issues a Position Paper on Research and Teaching in National Sign Languages as a guide to understanding the importance of deaf-led teaching and research work on national sign languages.
The Position Paper illuminates the substantial role that deaf people in teaching related to the education of deaf children and their family members and carers. In order for full acquisition of national sign languages of deaf children and their families, deaf role models are crucial. Having a Deaf Mentor maximises the deaf children’s linguistic development and hearing families’ language learning. A Deaf Mentor can reassure the family and build a positive approach towards their child’s future. The WFD outlines that national sign languages classes that are instructed by trained deaf teachers has greater results for parent’s national sign languages learning.
Those sign language users who are equipped with wider linguistics knowledge are in a better position to respond to queries from adult learners. Individuals with linguistics knowledge have a deeper understanding of direct difficulties faced by the deaf community. Ultimately, deaf people have richer resources for societies. It is imperative that all deaf people are included in participation in activities related to their languages.