Of these 90% babies are born to hearing parents, who generally are unaware of how to deal with the deafness, or even when they are the solutions presented to them are unviable. In many homes, due to a stigma attached to deafness, or the believe that it is a result of a curse for their “sins”, many parents do not even disclose that their child is deaf.
This has devastating long lasting effects on their deaf child. Most of these children have missed out on language development in the critical first there years of their lives. This in turn has a negative impact on the social-emotional skills and literacy skills all of which form building blocks for a life of full potential.
In many cases there are deaf children who do go to schools in India, but they are playing catch up for the rest of their lives. With efforts to “normalise” a deaf person who have little or no auditory inputs, most educators and specialists in India spend all their efforts in making a deaf person speak. As a result of which, deaf children often fall behind their hearing peers. For example, as one study reported that, during 15 months of intensive speech instruction, a 30 month old deaf child was able to learn one word a month compared with hearing children spontaneously learn from 60-120 words a month between 30 and 48 months of age. Deaf children whose language is very delayed may show learning patterns similar to younger hearing children, not due to deafness per se, but due instead to a significantly delayed rate of language growth. This not just creates communication isolation, but hinders academic success and cognitive learning which lays foundation for success in later years.
The poor foundation is compounded by poor quality of education in deaf schools where the students are unable to learn effectively. Since academic success is a precursor to getting higher degrees and certificates, most of the deaf people are unemployed, and if they are, they work in unskilled manual labour intensive jobs.
In daily lives, the deaf people face access barriers- for example, visiting doctors or even simple tasks like buying a metro/bus ticket, they do not have the ability to communicate their needs. Even in cases where technology can be easily provided for access to information like providing captions and subtitles, or video based communication, there is very little done in this area.