[First posted on June 2018, see update below]
It is estimated that there are nearly 32 Million deaf, hard-of-hearing children around the world and of those only 20% have access to education but only 2% of those actually receive sign language education. This lack of language skills will impact the kids life long as they won’t be able to develop social and cognitive skills and will result in lack of job & growth opportunities. There are variety of reasons for having such a low percentage, which include:
- Lack of awareness of parents & community, as 90% of deaf kids are born to non-deaf parents. Also the lack of local resources to help figure out how/what could be done to educate such a kid.
- Lack of teachers who can teach the sign language and teaching resources
- Lack of content and the way it is distributed. Now with the online/mobile penetration this could be easily solved, but this leads to the next challenge, that is
- Lack of proper tools to create the content with ease in all the local languages. This is definitely where we need better software platforms and tools, perhaps AI can play big role in creating/automating the creation of visual sign content.
Recently, AllChildrenReading.org announced winners of phase 1 of its competition. These are some good ideas and good luck to all, for phase 2 and beyond.
As always, know of anyone else or any startup working on this, please let me know, I will update this post.
Update (May 9, 2021 )- AllChildrenReading has created a global standard for sign language story book production, this should accelerate the inclusive education in many locations and sign languages.
[Image Credit: Thanks to Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay]