Contributed By Comr. Yusuf Kumo.
Permit to say that, the biggest challenges we the seat of people with special needs particularly deaf usually encounters especially at home and within the other agents of socialization is mostly communication barriers and isolation .
This Barrier is frequent at home because many parents of the deaf and hard of hearing people in the Northern part of the country communicate in Hausa and they are not familiar with English language, but unfortunately majority of the deaf don’t know Hausa and their mother tongues. Why? Simply because most parents hardly teach them Hausa/their mother tongue from childhood just because they are deaf, I’m sorry to say.
The schools which is supposed to educate them how to communicate with their hearing counterparts usually teach them only in Manual Sign Language and English language which majority of the parents hardly understand. As a results, deaf people are mostly isolated at home with little or no communication between them and their families because most families in the north unlike the southern parts, hardly communicate in English or sign language while the deaf hardly understands Hausa language.
Personally I don’t know Hausa much, I learned few when I was hearing, I had to put pressure on family and siblings to educate me some Hausa words I don’t understands. Up to today there are many Hausa words and sentences I don’t understands. That’s perhaps the reasons I hardly writes or chats in Hausa.
It’s worthy to note that in almost all deaf schools right from primary to secondary they don’t teach Hausa language or any other language except in English Manual Sign language which is ASL. If they do I’m sure the issues of communication barriers and isolation at home could be minimized because this will give chance for the deaf to communicate with their parents and siblings in Hausa which is the language most parents and siblings understands at home.
And the worst part of it is when some of them goes to tertiary institutions FCE(s) in particular, they will face Hausa as either elective or compulsory course. majority of them finds it difficult to go through the course…
I must commend President Muhammadu Buhari for signing this Disability Right Bill in to law, and most importantly the NASS for gazetting it to Disability Right Act now, the only thing remain is implementation.
I’m urging the president to please implement it in to law, because
if this Bill (sorry, Act instead, because it’s no longer a Bill but an act since it was already gazetted by the NASS recently) is implemented, it will also ensure the inclusion of Sign language in our schools curriculum…
This is commendable as it will helps (especially the younger generation) to reduce communication barriers between the deaf people and normal counterparts.
However, this is not enough, deaf people too need to learn Hausa language to help them communicate with their parents and siblings who might not be a beneficiary of the newly inclusive sign language in schools curriculum. This will no doubt reduce communication barriers between them and their parents/siblings at home.
In conclusion, I’m using this opportunity to urge my state ministry of education, and most importantly the Federal Ministry of Education (FMOE) to please kindly include Hausa language in our Special schools curriculum especially in the Northern Hausa speaking Communities, Yoruba language in the west and Igbo language in the East which will helps minimize communication barriers between the deaf and hard of hearing people and their parents, siblings, the media and the society at large.
Comr. Yusuf Kumo writes from Bauchi
Can be reach on Twitter; @Yusufkumo4.