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Full Inclusion with Sign Language – International Week of the Deaf

Full Inclusion with Sign Language – International Week of the Deaf

“Nothing about us, without us!”

 

To quote author James Charlton, the slogan above “expresses the conviction of people with disabilities that they know what is best for them.” When working with deaf communities or any differently-abled community for that matter, the value of representation must be considered and integrated.

 

The international week of the deaf is an initiative of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), and it promotes the awareness of human rights and sign language by hosting a variety of events around the globe. Every year, the last week of September witnesses highly concentrated global advocacy to raise awareness about the deaf community on different levels.

 

The students and teachers at Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan celebrate this week with great enthusiasm. Under the watchful eye of our teachers, students participate in various programs and events that require them to show their unique talents and express their views. All the events are designed in ways that ensure complete inclusion of the deaf community.

 

This year, to celebrate and empower the hearing impaired, our talented students wrote and performed skits on various social issues like gender discrimination, child abuse and right for education.

 

 

The skits above, performed using sign language, convey powerful messages and strike the right chords. Sign language is an essential tool of communication for tens of thousands of deaf people across the world. But in most cases, limitations in the use of this language make the children and adults who are hearing impaired deprived of their right to communicate with others, and therefore, from enjoying many other rights.

 

Language should be all-inclusive; learning sign language and using it more often can help ensure that. During this International Week of the Deaf, it is important to remember that without the inclusion of the deaf community, we are not only being unfair to our own brethren, but also missing out on their valuable contribution to society.

Why is it important to create an inclusive society with Sign Language?

Why is it important to create an inclusive society with Sign Language?

India is the 7th largest country in the world. Out of the 1.3 billion people that live here, 18 million are hearing impaired. That”s 1% of our entire population. When such a huge number of the Indian population suffers from hearing impairment, isn”t it our duty to build an inclusive society where everyone can live peacefully?

The hearing impaired miss out on a lot of things they actually deserve, and that isn”t right. Someone”s physical disability should not stand in the way of their betterment and improvement.

The inclusion of sign language should start at the very beginning of social interaction – schools. Schools are the one of the first platforms of social engagement children experience. At a young age, children can learn sign language very quickly. This will help them speak ”˜without” speaking, which might prove immensely beneficial for children who aren”t very comfortable verbalising what they are going through. Likewise, learning sign language can teach kids to be empathetic and grasp certain emotions better.

Sign Language

Following are some ways to incorporate sign language in our teaching methods:

  • Signing letters as you teach them.
  • Signing songs that are traditionally sung in the classroom.
  • Signing words used during snack time.
  • Signing numbers, months, days, pledges, names and feelings.

Most commonly used by the hearing impaired, sign language can work wonders for many others, including those who face trouble speaking.

sign language

Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan is a school for special children that creates a warm, nurturing environment for students, giving them plenty of scope to excel in academics, communication, social skills, basic application sciences and self-care skills. Our teaching programmes have been developed after careful consideration of our students” special needs, and our teachers are always committed to making their lives easier.

To learn basic sign language, click here!

Hearing Impaired Students Recreate Saare Jahaan Se Accha in Sign Language with accompanying Djembe Drums

Hearing Impaired Students Recreate Saare Jahaan Se Accha in Sign Language with accompanying Djembe Drums

On the 15th of August in 1947, independent India was born – making many million hearts brim with joy in the afterglow of freedom. 72 years later, the day still evokes a similar emotion.

While events and celebrations in honour of this day are held throughout the country, and amongst Indian communities abroad, children with special needs at Mata Bhagwanti Chadha Niketan are celebrating it in their own special way.

Over the last few months, these children have put in their tireless efforts to make our ”˜Connecting Signs” campaign a successful one. It is is a year-long endeavour, which has raised greater awareness around those who can”t speak or hear. This campaign has made people realise that, despite having limited abilities, these children are no less! They have boundless talent that can help make the world a beautiful place.

Djembe Circle is a musical therapy using drums that helps children with autism improve their hand-eye coordination and refine their social and motor skills. For children with other disabilities, the therapy helps build team coordination and rhythmic movement of the body, and allows participants to bond with other children over drumming.

Last year, our children recreated Jana Gana Mana in sign language as a part of the campaign, reaching more than two million views. Moving ahead with the same spirit this year, MBCN students chose to recite ”˜Saare Jahaan se Accha” in sign language. A popular verse penned by poet and politician Muhammad Iqbal in 1904, this poem has been immortalised as a song plenty of times, yet we are sure that this is definitely one of the most special versions.

As a progressive society, we love exploring new things all the time. However, to help those who need us the most, it is imperative that we first understand their language. Watch the video here:

Connecting Signs: A Language We All Must Learn

Connecting Signs: A Language We All Must Learn

When you’re thirsty, you ask for a glass of water. What about those who can’t speak?

When you’re lost, you ask for directions. What about those who can’t make themselves heard?

When you’re worried, you call a friend and talk for hours at end. What about those who don’t have that option?

When you hear music, you can’t keep your feet from tapping. What about those who can’t hear?

Clearly, we need to bridge the gap and connect with the unconnected! And Connecting Signs does just that.

What is Connecting Signs all about?

It is about connecting those missing dots.
It is about making those unheard voices heard.
It is about breaking down those walls that keep us from communicating.

Connecting Signs is a way for us to reach out to those who need us the most, and in a way that has never been done before!

In our day to day hustle, we don’t realize that life is not as easy for those who can’t hear or speak. Even if we do take out the time to reach out, we do so with an air of sympathy or commiseration. The important realization, which we often forget, is that those with a speech or hearing impairment are truly gifted in ways that go beyond the ordinary. All they need is a little touch of magic from those of us who can encourage and help them.

International Week of the Deaf 2017: September 18 – September 24, and Connecting Signs is an endeavour, which will raise greater awareness around those who can’t speak or hear. The campaign will strive to signal the many challenges these people face, besides the many hardships they bear due to societal negligence and lack of effort.

The various activities and events will be a sincere attempt at bridging all gaps, and opening doors to effortless forms of communication. Besides educating the masses about sign language and its importance, Connecting Signs will also embrace the differences, give life to new friendships, and negate all forms of misconceptions and taboos associated with such impairments.

The power to change lives lies in our hands! Are you giving a thumbs up to this one?

MBCN HI Students Connect All With Indian National Anthem In Sign Language

MBCN HI Students Connect All With Indian National Anthem In Sign Language

How many of you truly know the meaning of the Indian national anthem? We may sing it, hear it, or hum it, but do we know the real essence of the words? Sometimes, a lot is lost in translation, and a lot more goes missing for those who can”t hear or speak.

The children from MBCN recently showcased Jan Gan Man (the Indian national anthem) in sign language, and taught us a great deal about the beautiful song. The different meanings of the words were brought to life, and the zeal and pride on their faces made it a delightful experience for one and all. More importantly, it made us understand that knowing sign language is crucial when it comes to understanding the needs of those who can”t hear or speak.

Connecting Signs is reaching out to all types of people who come from different walks of life. It is an endeavor to reverse the norm and encourage inclusiveness on all levels, and of all types of people. As a society, we love learning new languages and exploring different cultures. It is however pivotal that we understand sign language and understand the culture of humanity in order to help those who need us the most.

With International Week of the Deaf just around the corner, let us all come together and celebrate the language that can connect us all and unite us for Love, Harmony and Humanity.