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Deafblind persons want tactile language in curriculum

By Agnes Nantambi

Added 15th September 2019 07:19 PM

Currently, the curriculum recognises sign language but the lack of a deafblind curriculum has brought about a lack of skilled teachers to assist deafblind children to attain some level of education.

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Stakeholders of NADBU signing on the new strategic plan formulated for the next five years. PHOTO: Agnes Nantambi

Currently, the curriculum recognises sign language but the lack of a deafblind curriculum has brought about a lack of skilled teachers to assist deafblind children to attain some level of education.

People with Deafblindness have asked the government to consider including the tactile language into the education curriculum to enable them to attain some level of education.
 
Currently, the curriculum recognises sign language but the lack of a deafblind curriculum has brought about a lack of skilled teachers to assist deafblind children to attain some level of education.
 
“There are no skilled teachers for deafblind children and because of this; these children cannot be absorbed into meaningful employment to provide for their families which has kept them in a vicious cycle of dependency translating into poverty. The government can train teachers and equip schools which can teach these children so that they can benefit from gainful employment, “said Yona Waswa the coordinator National Association of the deafblind in Uganda (NADBU).
 
Waswa said families of children with deafblindness suffer a lot from stigma from communities surrounding them.
 
“They develop loss of esteem but most importantly, their families spend the most time taking care of these children and spend less time in participating in productive work, ending up leaving in a vicious cycle of poverty. We call upon the government to expand the social protection to cover families of children with deafblindness, “he said.
 

 Yona Waswa on the right, communicating with fellow deafblind persons in tactile with their interpreter during the launch of the National Association of the Deafblind Persons strategic plan. PHOTO: Agnes Nantambi

 
Waswa observed a need to carry out early identification of children with deafblindness so that they are referred for appropriate treatment to help them benefit from existing programs.  
 
Waswa said this during the launch of a five-year strategic plan for NADBU.
 
“Under this, we shall identify children who cannot hear and see from the communities, refer them for treatment such that they can be corrected and leave normally. All those who are unable to benefit from the surgical and other intervention, we shall do family care support to improve the economic status of the families to help the children leave a better life," he explained.
 
Communication and building capacity of the institutions are some of the other strategic objective of the plan since communication is among the biggest problems that cause isolation of deafblind children.
 
“We are going to teach parents, teachers, medical workers, community workers including the church leaders such that they are included in all programs that exist," he added.
 
The principal Rehabilitation officer at the ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development Samson Masiga said that in this era of development and inclusivity, issues of stigma should not prevail amongst persons with disability.
 
He observed a need for the disability movement to document specific issues as per each disability.
 
“Let those with visual impairment get the necessary software to allow them to work other than continuing to lament about disability," he said.
 
He said that the world is full of requirements with limitations on resources observing a need to go step by stage in addressing specific issues.
 
Masiga said his Ministry with other partners is working on a tactile curriculum awaiting recognition by the constitution.

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