The importance of teaching sign language to deaf children

by P.V14 December 2015 Last updated at 12:21 PM - The first six years are very important for a child’s cognitive development. Children with prelingual deafness have nothing but sign language to communicate with others.

To help these children improve their cognitive ability, a special education model has been established. The model consists of a deaf teacher and an interpreter who teach sign language to the deaf children as well as their family in their home. After four years of implementation, the project has successfully taught sign language to 255 deaf children under six years old across four provinces and cities in Vietnam.

This sign language flash mob dance, performed by volunteers and deaf people, is funded by “The Intergenerational Deaf Education Outreach Project”, or the IDEO Project. IDEO is a community project to aid children under six who were born deaf. Similar to any other preschool class, the kids will be taught according to a general curriculum, with the only difference being that this class is taught in sign language.

"The project is very successful because it receives support from the deaf community. They are proud of deaf children who learn sign language early, and also of those who teach the kids. Deaf people make the best sign language teachers", said Le Thi Kim Cuc, Project Manager, IDEO Project.

Little Khoi Nguyen has been deaf since birth. After trying in vain to cure his deafness, his mother, Vu Phuong Ha, decided to enroll her son in the Xa Dan School for the Deaf and has since been participating in the IDEO Project.

"My son’s cognitive ability improved rapidly. After just one year of using sign language, he seems to be more aware of natural phenomena such as colours or animals. It’s almost like he can communicate like a hearing child", sai Vu Phuong Ha.

Many families participating in the project have gathered at Family Day 2015, a festival dedicated to born-deaf children and sign language. The deaf children here confidently performed a small play at the festival.

Experts have also pointed out that it is important for deaf children to communicate with the outside world and receive a general education. Sign language can certainly help them in this regard.

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