According to the World Federation of the Deaf, many Deaf education programs do not respect the linguistic human rights of Deaf children due in large part to language deprivation resulting from the exclusion of sign language. Research indicates that Deaf children learn best through a visual modality, and early language exposure and acquisition impact a child’s ability to learn and develop socially, emotionally, and cognitively. Without a linguistic foundation, developmental opportunities to reach optimum potential are greatly reduced.
In order to ensure that Deaf children do not needlessly suffer the impacts of language deprivation, WFD seeks to influence law and works toward policy changes world-wide.
The World Federation of the Deaf calls upon governments world wide to:
- To sign and ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and modify their education legislation to follow this Convention.
- Put into practice policies or guidelines regarding early identification of and intervention for Deaf children that maximise their visual capabilities and sign language.
- Legalize sign language and quality education for Deaf people of all ages.
- Provide the resources necessary for the development of effective programmes for teaching sign language and Deaf Studies (history, culture, etc.) to involved people, such as:
- Families of Deaf children
- Teachers of Deaf children, administrators and other professionals
- Professionals, including doctors and therapists, for preschool Deaf children
- Interested parties such as but not limited to community service providers, interpreters, and other students
- Provide support for programmes for Deaf people to receive training and become employed as teachers, educational professionals and members of educational teams.
- Establish high standards for quality education programmes and outcomes, from early childhood to professional education, for all Deaf people equal to that for all people; implement assessment and monitoring programmes to ensure that each learner makes appropriate progress.
- Ensure that Deaf learners who may be placed in mainstream educational settings have access to the services of educated, trained and qualified sign language interpreters, other needed support services, Deaf peers and role models, and full participation in both the educative and co-curricular processes.