Are you aware that there are more than 300 sign languages all over the world? Well, do you even know what is sign language? Well, there is no universal sign language, which means one sign language because sign language differs from region to region, state to state, and nation to nation.
Sign languages are basically visual languages that include an important way of communication for the deaf, who are also called hearing impaired, or hard of hearing. Sign languages are the natural languages of the deaf community of the world.
23 September 2023 marks the celebration of International Day of Sign Languages all across the globe. It includes body language, gestures, and facial expressions, among others.
Sign language includes its own grammar and syntax style. Official data says that approximately 20% of the world’s population are deaf or suffer from hearing loss. These numbers are going to only rise in the coming years as WHO estimates that approximately 2.5 billion people will go through hearing loss by 2050!
That’s why sign language has started gaining prominence to communicate with deaf people. So, let us celebrate the day along with International Week of the Deaf understand more about deaf culture, and become aware of the deaf community.
You can do a quick Google search or check on YouTube how you can learn the basic letters and numbers in the Sign language of your country or region. You can also learn words like Hello, how are you, thank you, welcome, yes and no, help, emergency, bathroom, etc.
If you want to bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing communities, you can follow these simple steps to ensure that the world becomes a safer and better place for the deaf to live in.
Your facial expressions matter the most while communicating in sign language with your hands. So, ensure you face the deaf person while signing.
Do not use terms like deaf and dumb, deaf and mute, or even for that matter hearing impaired or hard of hearing. Just address them as “deaf”, as simple as that.
Don’t assume that all deaf people use sign language or that all deaf people use lip-read. Each deaf person is unique and has his or her own story of how they have come this far in their lives. So, even if some deaf people will feel good if you write and communicate instead of using lip-reading or sign language, then so be it! Just ask what are their requirements and deliver accordingly.
If there is a necessity for an interpreter for the deaf person with whom you are communicating, then ensure to hire a professional interpreter in sign language. If there is an official meeting or an event that has a deaf audience, make it inclusive by getting a sign language interpreter as they can act as a proper communicator who can deliver the message to the deaf audience in their own language at the right time.
If you have a deaf staff member in your organization, make them feel included in your office by ensuring that things are communicated in a visual manner more than written or spoken.