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‘Don’t Ban Sign Language’ Says Deaf Community at Vancouver Congress

Monday, July 26, 2010

Thunderous applause and tears greeted presenters at the 21st International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (ICED 2010), which was held in Vancouver this week, when they called for countries around the world to embrace sign-language-based educational programs for deaf students.

Congress participants, both deaf and hearing, celebrated the July 19th statement formally rejecting the resolutions made at the ICED 1880 Congress in Milan, which “removed the use of sign languages from educational programs for Deaf around the world”.

After over a century of fighting to have sign languages acknowledged and supported by educational organizations, the Deaf community sees the ICED 2010 statement as a groundbreaking step. While previous attempts to reject the Milan 1880 resolutions failed, many say the years of restricting deaf children’s access to sign language robbed them of the ability to reach their full potential.

This week’s history-making statement, called “A New Era: Deaf Participation and Collaboration”, rejected the idea that sign languages should be banned from educational programs for deaf students. It also expressed regret at the detrimental effects of the Milan 1880 resolution, and asked educators all over the world to “ensure that educational programs accept and respect all languages and all forms of communication”.


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