International Week of the Deaf runs September 24th to 30th in 2018 (always the last full week within September, Mon-Sun). This is also the 60th anniversary of the first IWD, held in 1958. Their theme for 2018 is “With Sign Language, Everyone is Included!”
According to the World Health Organization, over 450 million people worldwide have a hearing disability of some form and close to a billion will by 2050. Hearing disability doesn’t always mean a complete inability to hear sound, it can mean loss of range, loss of low volume, loss of one ear, directional loss, tinnitus and many other forms. The cause is sometimes congenital (genetic predisposition, disease during pregnancy) but can also be acquired (accidents, excessive noise, disease).
Like all disabilities, people face discrimination and discourtesy (Tuesday’s topic), and they are less likely to be accomodated by capitalism’s mass production (Wednesday). But the deaf turned out to provide one of the most interesting insights into language development, spoken or signed (Thursday). On Friday, I’ll post information on sign languages – plural, because different countries use different sign languages. American Sign Language (ASL) is not a form of English, and English parts of Canada use it outside the US. Quebec uses Langue des Signes Québécoise (LSQ).
Here are a few links to organizations supporting the hearing disabled. Resources for many other countries can be found on the link as well as by searches. This isn’t the dark ages anymore, when the deaf and hearing disabled were shuttered away from society.
The Republic of China Qi Cong Association (Taiwan)
The US’s National Association of the Deaf
Signing Savvy: Deaf Awareness Week