By Innocent Anguyo
KAMPALA - In light of ensuring that Ugandans who are both blind and deaf receive formal education, Kyambogo University is set to start a course in the discipline of Deafblindness.
The program is being developed by the university in collaboration with a Dutch institutional, Kentalis International, that promotes full participation of people who have difficulty in speaking, hearing and seeing.
The partnership also involves Sense International Uganda, a local NGO.
This development was revealed by the university’s acting Vice Chancellor Prof Elly Katunguka on the second, and last, day of the public institution’s 10th graduation on Friday.
“When completely developed, Kyambogo University will be the first university in sub-Saharan region to train students in deaf blindness,” said the VC.
Deafblindness is the condition of little or no useful sight and little or no useful hearing.
Educationally, individuals are considered to be deafblind when the combination of their hearing and sight loss causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they require significant and unique adaptations in their educational programs.
Deafblind people communicate in many different ways determined by the nature of their condition, the age of onset, and what resources are available to them.
Multisensory methods have been used to help deafblind people enhance their communication skills. These can be taught to very young children with developmental delays (to help with pre-intentional communication), young people with learning difficulties, or older people, including those with dementia.
However, the Deafblindness programme should not be confused with another existing course, the Bachelor of Special Needs.
For its part, the Special Needs program instructs students with, among others, visual and hearing impairment. Students interested in working with special needs people can also enroll for the course.
On Friday, the second-largest public university in Uganda wrapped up a two-day graduation ceremony which saw 6,713 students receive Masters Degrees, Diplomas, Postgraduate Diplomas and Undergraduate Degrees.
In a whole, 107 got first-class degrees while 43 attained first-class diplomas.