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Making themselves heard: deaf people in India during the global COVID-19 pandemic

GULYANI, Ritika
2021

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The onset of the sudden and global pandemic, COVID-19, has forced all of us to change our ways of living and interacting with the outside world. Additionally, a lot of restrictions on movement mandated by governments have also been issued in the past few months. In the context of India, a nationwide lockdown was in place from midmarch till the end of May. These lock-downs have had serious consequences for various segments of the population across the country, especially, those on the margins, who are vulnerable and/or in a minority. One such segment has been the disabled population. This paper, with the help of narratives, addresses the challenges faced by the deaf population during the COVID crisis and the ways in which they have negotiated these. There has been a big void in the dissemination of information to the deaf, owing to the fact that the majority of information from official sources has not been translated into sign language. More so, in times when information is the key to maintaining proper health care, this is a big lacuna. Additionally, the paper will also talk about the role of technology as well as of deaf groups in the lives of deaf people, and how it has proved to be very helpful to not just spread proper awareness about the pandemic, but also in trying to build up a movement in trying to recognise Indian Sign Language as the 23rd Official Language of India. 

Accessible to All: Creating learning materials for children with disabilities in Cambodia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Tajikistan

EducationLinks
December 2020

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Examples are outlined of how good practices in the provision of accessible learning materials are being put into practice by USAID in partnership with organisations addressing the education needs of students with disabilities:

  • Expanding access through Universal Design for Learning in Cambodia: All Children Reading
  • Applying a user-centered design approach in Kenya: eKitabu and Deaf-led Sign Language Video Stories
  • Promoting sustainable accessible standards in Rwanda: Soma Umenye
  • Supporting underserved languages in accessible formats: The Global Digital Library
  • Fostering parental involvement in Tajikistan: USAID Read with Me

 

Estimating assistive product need in Cameroon and India: results of population‐based surveys and comparison of self‐report and clinical impairment assessment approaches

BOGGS, Dorothy
KUPER, Hannah
MACTAGGART, Islay
MURTHY, GVS
OYE, Joseph
POLACK, Sarah
November 2020

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To estimate population need and coverage for distance glasses, hearing aids and wheelchairs in India and Cameroon, and to explore the relationship between assistive product (AP) need measured through self‐report and clinical impairment assessment.

Population‐based surveys of approximately 4000 people each were conducted in Mahabubnagar district, India and Fundong district, Cameroon. Participants underwent standardised vision, hearing and musculoskeletal impairment assessment to assess need for distance glasses, hearing aids, wheelchairs. Participants with moderate or worse impairment and/or self‐reported difficulties in functioning were also asked about their self‐reported AP need.

 

https://doi.org/10.1111/tmi.13523

Unheard children. Championing deaf children’s rights to family, community, education and independence in developing countries

DEAF CHILDREN WORLDWIDE
November 2020

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This report highlights the specific barriers facing deaf children and young people and demonstrates a number of smallscale approaches and initiatives that have succeeded in breaking down some of these barriers.

Topics are:

  • Language and communication. Early diagnosis and support (example from Bangladesh). Effective and affordable hearing technology. Communication choices. What is sign language? Tanzanian Sign Language – the need for more interpreters
  • Families. Early diagnosis and support. Upskilling parents and primary caregivers. Power to the parents (example from Uganda). Catalyst for change (example from India). 
  • Communities. Deaf role models (example from Bangladesh). Challenging the public and professionals. Educating the police force (example from India). Sharing knowledge across organisations
  • Education. Intensive communication. Extra help in the classroom (example from Kenya). Making secondary education accessible. Developing sign language skills. Inclusive further and higher education
  • Independence. Listening to deaf young people. Involving deaf young people in research. Support to make informed choices. Challenging perceptions in the workplace (example from Kenya)

 

 

Impact of lived experiences of people with disabilities in the built environment in South Africa

McKINNEY, Victor
AMOSUN, Seyi L.
August 2020

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Background: In spite of legislations and policies to ensure an inclusive society in South Africa for the accommodation of people with disabilities, there are reports that they still struggle to move freely within society.

 

Objectives: As part of a larger qualitative exploratory study on the preparation of undergraduate civil engineering students in a local university to contribute to the development of an inclusive society, this article seeks to understand the impact of the lived experiences of people with disabilities in their interaction with the built environment.

 

Method: Four persons with disabilities, considered to be knowledgeable about South African legislations relating to disability, were purposely selected to each share one specific experience whilst interacting with the built environment. The transcribed texts of the interviews were analysed by using the phenomenological–hermeneutic method.

 

Results: The participants exhibited strong desires to participate in society. However, the sense of loss of control and independence as they encountered challenges in the built environment changed the euphoria to disempowerment, rejection, anger and despondency. In spite of their experiences, participants expressed a commitment towards overcoming the challenges encountered in the broader interest of people with disabilities.

 

Conclusion: A deeper understanding of the impact of the experiences of people with disabilities when they participate within the built environment in South Africa revealed a broad spectrum of negative emotions, which may impact the quality of life and well-being of the participants.

 

 

African Journal of Disability, Vol 9, 2020

Breaking down barriers, one mask at a time

LIGHT FOR THE WORLD
August 2020

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Reports on the production of facemasks for COVID-19 which have clear plastic rectangular patches that allow lip reading and more visible facial expressions in a training centre for girls with intellectual disabilities in Kenya

Human-centred design in humanitarian settings: Methodologies for inclusivity

HAMILTON, Zoe
CASSWELL, Jenny
ALONSO, Aline
July 2020

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This report documents the human-centred design process used in a project conducted in 2020 in Nairobi, Kenya. It includes research tools that can be used in other contexts, as well as the adaptations that were made to research tools to ensure they were inclusive. These tools are followed by the main lessons learned, and recommendations for others who want to implement a similar process.

The goal of this project was to better understand how people living with disabilities in humanitarian contexts use mobile technology, the barriers they face in accessing mobile services, and the opportunities that mobile might present to increase access to basic services in their daily lives. The target population for this project was urban refugees living with visual or hearing impairments in Nairobi, Kenya. 

The human-centred design tools used included: Location Mapping, User Journeys, Communication Mapping, Future Me and Daily Diaries. 

The digital lives of refugees and Kenyans with disabilities in Nairobi: A human-centred design approach to identifying mobile-enabled opportunities

HAMILTON, Zoe
CASSWELL, Jenny
ALONSO, Aline
July 2020

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This research focuses on disability, using human-centred design methods to better understand how refugees and Kenyans with visual and hearing impairments in Nairobi use mobile technology and potential opportunities that it could provide.

The target populations for the project were urban refugees and host communities with visual or hearing impairments in Nairobi, Kenya. 

 

This report is divided into four main sections, following an introduction, the second section focuses on insights learned from the hearing impaired, the third on the visually impaired and the fourth highlighting issues that were cross-cutting insights across both groups. Sections two and three include insights related to mobile, health and financial services. The fourth section includes insights related to humanitarian and disability support services

 

Association of anxiety and depression with physical and sensory functional difficulties in adults in five population-based surveys in low and middle-income countries

WALLACE, Sarah
MACTAGGART, Islay
MORGON BANKS, Lena
POLACK, Sarah
KUPER, Hannah
June 2020

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The aim of this study was to assess the association between anxiety and depression with physical and sensory functional difficulties, among adults living in five low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

A secondary data analysis was undertaken using population-based disability survey data from five LMICs, including two national surveys (Guatemala, Maldives) and 3 regional/district surveys (Nepal, India, Cameroon). 19,337 participants were sampled in total (range 1,617–7,604 in individual studies). Anxiety, depression, and physical and sensory functional difficulties were assessed using the Washington Group Extended Question Set on Functioning. Age-sex adjusted logistic regression analyses were undertaken to assess the association of anxiety and depression with hearing, visual or mobility functional difficulties.

The findings demonstrated an increased adjusted odds of severe depression and severe anxiety among adults with mobility, hearing and visual functional difficulties in all settings (with ORs ranging from 2.0 to 14.2) except for in relation to hearing loss in India, the Maldives and Cameroon, where no clear association was found. For all settings and types of functional difficulties, there was a stronger association with severe anxiety and depression than with moderate. Both India and Cameroon had higher reported prevalences of physical and sensory functional difficulties compared with Nepal and Guatemala, and weaker associations with anxiety and depression

Ear and hearing survey handbook

WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO)
May 2020

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This survey handbook provides guidance for planning and implementing hearing loss surveys, including information on possible data collection tools. The survey handbook aims to enable countries – particularly low- and middle-income countries – to gather data by planning and implementing population-based epidemiological surveys.

The main uses of data collected by such surveys are:

  • to provide an accurate picture of hearing loss prevalence in a given area, which could be a country or an area within the country (e.g. district or state);
  • to provide an overview of the most common probable causes of deafness and hearing loss in the study area;
  • assess global and regional prevalence and trends

 

Using this survey handbook for data collection will help to ensure comparability of data collected through studies conducted in different countries and by different investigators. This will facilitate the estimation of global prevalence and the examination of hearing loss trends over time.

Overview on accessibility of video conferencing apps and services

STAKEHOLDER GROUP OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
May 2020

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The purpose of this document is for United Nations staff and partners to make their video conferences as inclusive as possible for all persons with disabilities. The Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities gathered the following information from representative organizations of persons with disabilities, in particular from the International Disability Alliance and its members, and from additional research. This list is by no means exhaustive, but rather attempts to provide an accessibility overview. 

Video Storybooks from eKitabu

eKitabu
2020

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eKitabu’s Studio KSL and Studio RSL create Kenyan Sign Language and Rwandan Sign Language videos and video storybooks to support accessible, early grade reading

Hearing Aids Product Narrative: A market landscape and strategic approach to increasing access to hearing aids and related services in Low and Middle Income Countries

SAVAGE, Margaret
CLINTON HEALTH ACCESS INITIATIVE
December 2019

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This product narrative was developed to support the identification of activities that will increase and sustain access to appropriate, affordable hearing aids

Five strategic objectives (SO) that can strengthen the market in both the near and longer-term are identified 

Capability of deaf children with a cochlear implant

RIJKE, Wouter J
VERMEULEN, Anneke M
WENDRICK, Karine
MYLANUS, Emmanuel
LANGEREIS, Margreet C
VAN DER WILT, Gert Jan
November 2019

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Introduction: The main idea underlying this paper is that impairments such as deafness are particularly relevant to the extent that they lead to deprivation of capability. Likewise, the impact of healthcare services such as cochlear implants and subsequent rehabilitation can best be inferred from the extent that they protect or restore capability of those affected.

 

Methods: To explore children’s post-implant capabilities, we tested two newly developed digital, adaptive child self-report and parent-report questionnaires in 19 deaf children (aged 8–12 years) and their parents during rehabilitation, as well as in 23 age peers with normal hearing.

 

Results: Despite the impressive speech-language results that were recorded with cochlear implants, the post-implant capabilities of the deaf children we evaluated differed from those of their hearing peers, with the cochlear implant group appearing particularly disadvantaged in areas such as accessing information, communication, social participation, and participation in school.

 

Conclusion: Deaf children with cochlear implants who are performing well on linguistic and auditory tests can still experience serious limitations in desired functioning. Our findings suggest that a capability approach may reveal aspects of what is being achieved through rehabilitation that might otherwise remain unnoticed, and that could help to further improve the well-being of our patients.

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