Hearing Loss and Deafness: Hope and Challenge

Deaf Children Can Often be Kept Away from Other Members of Society – which is Why Education is Crucial.

Haffiya Abdalla

Speech and language acquisition delay is one of the most common neuro-development difficulties in early childhood. The reason to perform newborn hearing screening is to detect a hearing disorder as early as possible and take action by supplying the child with a hearing aid or a cochlear implant.

Newborn hearing screening is done soon after birth to check your baby’s hearing. When hearing loss is found early, a child can get the help they need for their speech, language, learning, social and emotional development.

Why should my baby’s hearing be checked (screened)?

About 1 in 500 babies is born without normal hearing. This is called permanent congenital hearing loss (PCHL).

Without screening, it can be hard to tell if a baby has hearing loss. Even though a baby may respond to sounds, they may not hear well enough to develop speech and language. More than half of all babies with PCHL are healthy and have no family history of hearing loss.

The earlier hearing loss is found, the sooner a baby will have support to help them develop language to prevent delays in their development. If hearing loss isn’t found early, children have a high risk of developing problems with speech, language, memory, learning, and social development.

When should I have my baby screened for hearing loss?

It’s best to have your baby screened before they are 1 month old.

A workshop for reviewing and licensing the guide to integrate students with hearing disabilities in public education and institutions, which for four days in the Hall of the National Council for Child Welfare, participated by distinguished experts of education, organized by the Sudanese National Society for the Care of the Deaf, in cooperation with SaveSave the Children.

Sarah Mohamed Khair, coordinator of special education in Omdurman locality, said that there must be partners for the success of all programs to integrate this segment into society, noting that children with disabilities need support and help achieve their goals.

She added that there is a need to provide audiometry devices in public education, especially since audiometry devices have become very expensive, and said that it is necessary to work collectively with the civil society organizations and the Ministry of Education to support this segment by providing the required aids.

Dr. Alaa Abbas, Director of Al-Amal School and Institute for the Education of the Deaf, said that inclusion needs steps that must be provided, including the integrated curriculum for students with disabilities so that we know their capabilities, as well as the trained teacher, who is a means of delivering the curriculum and must be qualified to deal with people with hearing disabilities and finally the learner, who are the students who receive lessons, pointing to the importance of teaching to know their role in the educational process to achieve its desired goals.

Alaa pointed out that early detection is important to know the child’s hearing level, then the child’s ability to hear will be realized through an optimal hearing detection device, where statistics are provided on the number of children who need to provide the service.

She called for the need to work on rehabilitating the child from the beginning so that any defect that occurs after birth can be addressed through early detection of hearing, noting that partnerships are an important factor in providing early hearing support, praising the role of the Association for the Care of the Deaf in working directly among the hearing-impaired, which is worth appreciating.

Dr. Lamia Abdel-Rahman Abdel-Fadil, a representative of the Ministry of Health in Khartoum State, said that health is a partner in providing services to all segments, especially students and that a unified plan must be developed to help children with hearing loss, noting the need to promote health-promoting conditions in the three sides of the education triangle, the teacher, the learner, and the school, where An environment must be provided primarily suitable for teaching the hearing impaired.

Several participants expressed their interest in expanding the mechanisms for early detection of the hearing level of children from birth so that the matter can be remedied in the event of an early problem and treated with ease and at the lowest costs to reduce the number of hearing-impaired students and avoid cases of deafness that can be treated

It is worth noting that the Sudanese National Society for the Deaf had come into being after its founder, the renowned Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist Dr.Taha Tala’at noticed the degree of frustration and suffering families felt when they received a deaf or deaf-mute baby. Upon Dr. Tala’at’s initiative, a group of good citizens from different walks of life gathered together in 1970 and drew up a roadmap towards comprehensive attention to this category and its families. The society then obtained a license in 1971.

Ever since its inception, Society had worked seriously, achieving too much and looking ahead for more and more achievements. They have passed a lot of suffering and we still have a long road to go, with Allah’s help and support.

The Society spent the period 1985-1990 in the collection of Sudan’s deaf signs from their sources. A committee comprising the American priest Garth Cedrik Heulen and Ms. Wehda Shareef then sorted out and edited these signs into the first dictionary of Sudan’s sign language. Father Garth, who is graduated with a B.A in secondary school education, came to Sudan in 1984 to work in the education of the deaf and became a member of the Society. Due to his mastery of the American Sign Language which he studied after adopting a child with this disability, Mr. Garth was asked to work with the coordination committee set by the Society in 1982 to work on Sudan’s sign language. He finally crystallized an integrated basic curriculum for the Sudanese sign language that graduated its first qualified batch in 1990. Mr. Garth then trained the majority of the Society’s sign language interpreters. He continued with his effort in this field until he finally issued Sudan’s first sign language dictionary in 1994. He has published several articles on the code of conduct for sign language interpreters, the communication of music to the deaf, and others.

The Society has managed to introduce education of the deaf in Sudan through the preparation of teachers and the authentication of the Sudanese sign language. It issued Sudan’s first dictionary of this language in 1994 and the second one in 2002. It produced a film for communication in 1994. It had published articles, launched an Arabic-English website, and issued its first version of its magazine al-Amal Wal Tahaddi (hope and challenge) in September 2011.

The Society is run along with democratic principles and all its members are elected and work voluntarily to achieve the goals stated in its basic statute.

Deaf Children Can Often be Kept Away from Other Members of Society – which is Why Education is Crucial.

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