New approach to teaching deaf children in Vietnam


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In a 2006 survey of households in Vietnam that included a special section on disabilities, it was found that 18 out of every 10,000 children had great difficulty hearing or were not able to hear at all. On the basis of these estimates, some 15,500 Vietnamese children between 0 and 5 years of age would belong to this group. Most of them do not have access to primary education and their families are not provided specific support.

But things are changing as Agence News Press shows in their report on several specialized education centers in Hô-Chi-Minh City, Thai Nguyên, Quang Binh and Hanoi, that are trying a new approach to help children with hearing loss to develop and thrive. These schools teach not only sign language but also help the children to learn about the world around them and how to express themselves clearly.

The children in this program are taken care of by a family support team, which includes a tutor who is also hard-of-hearing and who therefore knows the difficulties these children face first hand, a sign language interpreter, and a hearing educator. Another novel aspect of the program is that these carers work with the children at their homes and with their families.

“This model enables us to help the children differently” says Nguyên Thanh Tam, Head of the Center for Supporting and Developing Inclusive Education for people with disabilities in Hô-Chi-Minh City. “Before we could only host the children at the center and we didn’t have enough space. Now we care for 150 children here and 170 others at home.”

Hoang Kim Phuc, a sign language teacher explains further, “I’m hard-of-hearing and when I was young, spoken language was the only way to learn, so I made very slow progress. Today, by combining sign language and spoken language, deaf children can learn more quickly, and better understand the world around them.”

Source: Agence News Press