It is customary in our county to be anxious about the gender of an unborn child. Will it be a girl or will it be a boy? This question gives both, the father and the mother, their moments of worry. However one is yet to find a family which only prays for a healthy child! Most of us think of the ‘hearing challenged’ as deaf mutes or deaf and dumb people. No one has ever paused to reflect on the words mute and dumb. Why were these words ever associated with what was primarily a loss of hearing?
The answer lies in the fact that the ability to hear and listen plays the most important role in the development of language and cognition in human beings. With this sense lost, the infant never hears a sound, does not associate thoughts with its meaning or is incapable of learning grammar. As a consequence, a person who speaks in gestures is unable to comprehend and thus labeled dumb or mute.
According to the NSSO, just over 18 /1000 persons with Hearing Impairment (HI) are presently in schools. The numbers stated above present a frightening scenario for the HI in our country. It is with this context that a number of NGOs began to come forward to initiate special schools for the HI.