IDEO project - Deaf children receive sign language assistance

by VTV4/VTVNews24 August 2015 Last updated at 15:13 PM

VTV.vn - With that in mind, a project funded by the Japanese Social Development Fund and implemented by the World Bank has been launched to make sure deaf pre-schoolers receive a quality education.

Over 15 thousand children below the age of six years are deaf or have a hearing impairment. Most of them lack access to early childhood education and their parents lack professional support. With that in mind, a project funded by the Japanese Social Development Fund and implemented by the World Bank has been launched to make sure deaf pre-schoolers receive a quality education.

Six-year old Khôi Nguyên was born deaf. His parents didn’t know until he was 3 years old. For the past 2 years, he has learnt to speak with sign language through the Inter-generational Deaf Education Outreach (IDEO) Project. The project established family support teams, consisting of deaf mentors and sign language interpreters to teach sign language for the children in their homes, with their families. Members of Nguyên’s family are now able to understand, communicate and care for his everyday needs.

Vu Phuong Ha, Khoi Nguyen’s mother said: Just a year after studying sign language, things have dramatically changed. He’s much more patient and doesn’t get cranky anymore. When something goes wrong or things get broken, he can let us know through sign language. And we’re now able to understand him as well. Now that we all understand the signs, things become normal. He is like a normal boy speaking a different language to me.

"Nguyên often got frustrated and broke things because he couldn’t communicate with their parents. After teaching him sign language, he is now able to interact with his parents. He even can communicate with friends when he attends classes at school. People often ask how Nguyen became so good with sign language, it’s because he joined the IDEO project." Ngo Thi KIm Oanh, Deaf mentor added.

The project, which will run until July 2016, has a budget of $2.8 million, with an additional $130,000 provided by the Vietnamese government. Implemented from 2011 in Hanoi, Thai Nguyen, Quang Binh and Ho Chi Minh City, the IDEO project has helped prepare 255 deaf children under 6 years old for formal schooling by learning sign language. According to the project’s research, they have the same learning abilities as other children. Giving them an early education will create a foundation for these children to access increased educational opportunities.

Le Thi Kim Cuc, Program manager of IDEO project, World Concern Development Organisation in Vietnam said: Researchers found that deaf children have the same development as other children. If children can learn 500 words in spoken language, deaf children can also learn 500 words in sign language. If these two groups have the same access to education, their learning ability is the same.

The IDEO project plays a critical role in Vietnam’s national strategy for educational development, which aims to make pre-school education universal for five-year-olds.

It is critical for deaf children to reach their full cognitive ability within the first 6 years of their life. With that in mind, IDEO is the first project in Vietnam targeting pre-school-age deaf children. Its results play a vital role in a child’ development and help prepare them for primary education.

Initial project evaluation shows that using sign language has helped improve deaf children’s language and cognitive development as well as communication ability and general knowledge. To further facilitate these abilities, IDEO has launched group classes since July this year for deaf children so they can learn and interact with their friends.

The project trained 55 deaf adults to become mentors to deaf children and about 200 hearing teachers in the use of sign language, so that they could support deaf children more effectively. However, deaf children will still need their support once they enter primary school. Therefore, the IDEO project is running pilot programme for deaf children entering Year 1. Through this programme, deaf children have better prospects of passing through the education system and become active members in the society. Hoàng Hằng, Vietnam Television, Hanoi.

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