At Deaf Child Worldwide we recently launched a new report looking at the experiences of deaf children growing up in India, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The Unheard Children report builds on our twenty years’ experience, research with nearly a thousand families and the work of our network of community-based partner organizations who support some of the most vulnerable deaf children around the world.
UNICEF estimates that around 40% of children with disabilities are out of school at primary level and 55% by secondary school. But this isn’t the whole story. As more inclusive programs are developed, we need to dig deeper into the data, and look at the specific experiences of children with different types of disabilities.
While many international organizations and governments are doing important work to strengthen inclusive education, and to close the persistent gaps in education and living standards, these efforts need to be married to a more nuanced focus on the unique challenges that different groups of children, such as deaf children, face.
Language and communication are central
Deaf children can do anything a hearing child can, so long as they receive the right support. If a deaf child is supported to develop language and communication skills (whether signed or spoken) as early as possible, their life chances will improve dramatically.