About Sri Lankan Sign Language

sinhala sign language    english sign language
tamil sign language

 Introduction

The experience of Normal parents having a Deaf child may include period of worry after identification, followed by periods of denial, confusion and depression as the parents attempts the various communication methods available. They feel that will muddle through till they burnout, in the early days of the childhood. There in comes the need of the professional educators to guide both the child and the parent. The lack of this facility precludes attainment of mutual satisfaction and joy in the parent-child relationship. Also this has an adverse effect on the child’s cognitive and social growth, during the early development stage. This precisely is the problem without professional help.

Present Status

Human right which is enshrined in our constitution applies to all the people equally and people with disabilities are no exception. In reality it is not so as far the disabled people are concerned. It is an obligation of the state to maintain and respect it. The worst affected are the people in the developing countries like ours. They are the poorest of the poor.

The main causes of discrimination are,

  1. Negative Attitude
  2. Misconception
  3. Lack of political determination to harness the potential of these people

These people are excluded from social development, meaning exclusion from society. The universal declarations of human rights encompass the whole spectrum of the human lives, which may include.

  1. Economic, social and cultural rights
  2. Civic and political rights

In normal parlance it is the right to education, adequate standard of living and freedom from hunger to work and so on. The sign Language is the first Language of the deaf, which is not recognized by the government and the people in general. These kinds have difficulties in gaining admission to school, even at the school for the Deaf they are not taught in sign Language. The types of sign communication used been limited to system devised for the educational purpose to represent the spoken Language. This system had not been successful as it is not their natural Language. In principle natural sign Language must be made available to the Deaf children. It should be promoted and supported by the society. It is their (children’s) right to have early and full access to sign Language and it should be recognized and treated as the 1st Language. It should be included as an academic subject for the Deaf and for the teachers to educate the Deaf. At present it is found as an academic subject for the deaf and for the teachers to educate the Deaf, with other disabilities, is very low. They don’t learn socially to interact with others, Segregation rampant.

The right to work is one the society’s measure of the status of equal opportunities. Everyone is needed if we are to maintain a good standard of living with efficient national productivity. It also means if we are to maintain a god standard of living with efficient national productivity. It also means harnesSign people’s different capacities instead of demanding flexibilities form everyone. All these are only possible through education, in their natural Language.

Funding in the form of state grants to such projects is not forth coming and they are to look for foreign and local (private) Agencies. This again is another drawback which needs to be looked at. An act on disabilities was passed on the rights of persons in 1996. From then on the law was evolved to accommodate latest development in the relevant fields. Unfortunately it does not mean that everything is fine as far as disabled people are concerned. Even through three percent of the public sector employment opportunities are reserved for these people the realty is not so. Everything is fine on paper, but the reality is different. They lack basics in education. Even public utilities do not have facilities (in the form of sign or labels) that are required by the disabled people, indicating complete lack of concern for them. The disabled people feel that they are stigmatized and rejected and they loose the chance of making their Owen choice. All these, hinges on basic human rights and infringements of the same by the society they are part of. The efforts made by the National institute of Education, for students with special needs are woefully inadequate. Especially for hearing impaired kids, in comparison to the other forms of disabilities is, sad to say, almost nil. It is hard to find G.C.E. O/L qualified students, among the Deaf community and it reflects adversely on job opportunities.

Proposal

The need is a mechanism to translate these rights into research, implementation of programs in the education of deaf children in Sign Language, teaching of Sign Language to teachers, and training of and provision of interpreters

The basic activity to turn the tide, may include
1). Capacity Building 
2). Advocacy
3). Social Mobilization

Hence the necessity for the propagation and use of the sin Language is of paramount importance Sign Language is a visual gestural Language based on the use hand, and the body as whole alphabets in normal Language (finger spelling) are also used along with the Sign Language. It represent the deaf people’s creative response and evolved within the deaf communities It is also a form of mimicry,  to get their message across. Their social interactions will not be complete without the Sign Language interpreters fully capable of translating Sign Language to spoken and vice versa. This can only lead them to facilities and information from the society in general. There is no commonly used writing from of Sign Language it should at least be recorded through videotaped Sign Language translation the purpose of propagation hence official recognition of these rights will be a step forward in achieving equal rights to the deaf people and it spells empowerment of the deaf people. Another important milestone to be attained is the registration of qualified Sign Language interpreters, with a professional body so a to maintain standards the professional body so established shall supervise the training of personnel and finally the awarding the appropriate certificates. These professional interpreters are needed not only for the purpose of education but also for

  1. Legal purpose especially in courts
  2. Media works and public events
  3. Sports activities
  4. Medical fields
  5. And in all other social interactions, with the deaf people

Conclusion

Mainstreaming of the hearing impaired child along with the normal child in schools will only clash with the program to the detriment of the deaf child. The child must be taught in their natural Language –

SRI LANKAN SIGN LANGUAGE

sign language      sign language