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21.02.2009 Social News

Parents urged to learn sign language for better communication with wards


Mr Felix Kumedzro, Central Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare on Friday, urged parents with deaf and dump children to endeavour to learn the sign language skills to enable their wards to share their “deepest thoughts and concerns with them”.

He said research conducted among hearing impaired children indicated that due to parents' lack of sign language skills, communication between them and their relatives at home does not encourage fruitful interaction and learning.

Mr Kumedzro made the appeal when he addressed a workshop for children with hearing impairment and their families at Cape Coast.

The programme organized by the Ghana National Deaf Children Society (GNDCS) in collaboration with the Cape Coast School for the Deaf (CAPEDEAF), was to educate and motivate parents with deaf and dump children to enroll them in school.

Mr Kumedzro noted that it was sad that some parents fail to seek medical treatment for their disabled children but rather associate disabilities with witchcraft and other beliefs, adding that, such “unscientific, unsubstantiated and barbaric stories” should not be entertained in these modern times.

He explained that there are many categories of hearing impairment, which he said, have natural or scientific causes and enumerated them to include excessive noise making, diseases such as meningitis, measles and chicken pox, stressing that, parents should be alert and seek early treatment on detection of any signs of hearing problems with their wards.

He said the deaf child should be given equal education and training as their hearing counterparts for them to also contribute their quota to national development.

Mr Kwasi Ofori-Manteaw, Co-founder and Executive Director of the society, expressed his dissatisfaction about the location of deaf schools in Ghana, saying, “they are always far away from the centre of town, making it difficult for most of them to have easy access”.

According to him the lack of public education, late diagnosis of deafness and poverty among parents were some of the problems confronting deaf children in society and appealed to the government and all stakeholders to help promote deaf education in Ghana and to also provide financial support for them.

Ms Augustina Ampomah, an alumnus of the Cape Coast School for the Deaf, who is now studying at the University of Education Winneba, emphasized that, educating the deaf child depended largely on parents and appealed to them to desist from enrolling their children only after they are grown.

She noted that, well educated disabled children would be beneficial not only to their parents but to society at large.

The headmistress of the CAPEDEAF, Mrs Barbara Anim, said the school has achieved a lot and encouraged parents to enroll their wards for them to become useful citizens.

On display at the function were artistic works such as paintings, weavings and batiks made by the children.