By Ibrahim Tukur
Communication barrier is one of the major problems holding many deaf people back. Living in an inclusive world—a world that comprises people with differences, one has to know the others better to get along together. We can only achieve that through communication. Unfortunately, however, many people have immensely misunderstood due to the communication barrier. Some see people with hearing impairment as stupid, insane, mad, etcetera.
Communication barrier has brought various challenges that not exclusively affect the personal achievement of the deaf but also their educational, spiritual and economic development.
Due to this barrier, many deaf experience loneliness, depression and isolation at home because they have no one to communicate with as most of the family members don’t know how to communicate with them. In the same vein, their parents often neglect them and find it challenging to communicate with them in their day-to-day interactions and operations. Thus, this makes many deaf children, if not all, grow up morally deficient.
In many tertiary institutions, deaf students face many academic challenges that interfere with their studies. Although all tertiary institutions are inclusive, they are not offering special services like Sign Language interpreters. Consequently, those students often sit in the class watching their lecturers lecturing verbally and their coursemates with no hearing loss drinking from their knowledge flow.
Deaf people face immense challenges when it comes to employment. Many organisations and companies find it difficult to employ deaf people due to this barrier, as good communication is one of the essential requirements in entrepreneurship. This is why many deaf people have automatically been disqualified during job interviews despite meeting all the requirements.
Again, because of this barrier, deaf people are denied from getting jobs as doctors, engineers, journalists, lecturers, lawyers, accountants, etcetera. Many deaf who have studied others fields are forced to become classroom teachers as if teaching is the only profession for the deaf.
Although the current administration has enacted a law that prohibits discrimination against people with disability, thanks to their bid for inclusion, they failed to trench the underlying causes of the discrimination.
To nip the deaf-based discrimination in the bud, Sign Language should be introduced as a core curriculum in all schools since the communication barrier is its underlying cause.
Sign Language specialists should be employed in all schools and tertiary institutions to teach Sign Language so that everybody will learn to communicate with the deaf and get to know them better.
Teaching Sign Language in schools nationwide will improve this communication gap and end the disparagement, discrimination, and stigmatisation they experience. It will equally create a comfortable environment for the deaf folks to live in this Inclusive world.
Ibrahim Tukur is a 400 level student of Bayero University, Kano. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.