Sign language is a language deaf children can learn naturally. However, as 95% of deaf children are born to hearing parents who usually don’t know sign language, most of those children receive late exposure to sign language resulting in late cognitive development and less chance to acquire language proficiency. Early access to sign language and quality inclusive education through a national sign language and national written language for all deaf children is fundamental to ensuring their human rights. To secure this right, families of deaf children must receive state-funded sign language instruction as early as possible.

In addition, deaf children have the right to receive education in their natural language through quality inclusive bilingual education in a national sign language and national written language. Teachers must be fluent in sign languages with a native-level proficiency and deaf children must be surrounded by their deaf peers and deaf adult role models. These settings are crucial to the development of their identity.

Today, post a photo on social media of deaf children celebrating IWDeaf!

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