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Deaf Community- Colombia

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Updated November 26, 2011

Although part of Colombia is still at war, much of the country has a well-developed deaf society.

Travel to Colombia

Deaf people can even enjoy travel to Colombia with deaf-only tours. For those who can not travel to Colombia, the Described and Captioned Media Program has a captioned video about Colombia as a country.

Numbers of Deaf People in Colombia

Looking around the web, I found one estimate that estimates just over 2 million deaf in Colombia.

Colombian Sign Language

Colombian sign language is known as LSC for short. Interpreters seem to be relatively available, and there is at least one well-established interpreter education program. This program is at the University of Valle's School of Sciences of the Language, in Cali, Colombia.

More sign langauge information can be found via the International Bibliography of Sign Language (www.sign-lang.uni-hamburg.de/Bibweb/), using the keyword Colombia. The results are primarily in Spanish.

Deaf Organizations in Colombia

Colombia's national deaf association is Fenascol, a young organization that has been existence only since 1984.

The national deaf sports organizatin is the Federacion Colombiana Deportiva de Sordos.

The Colombian equivalent of the John Tracy Clinic in the United States is the Centro de Investigacione Informacion en Deficiencias Auditivas (CINDA). CINDA offers audiological services for families and young deaf children.

Charitable Work with Deaf in Colombia

A faith organization, Deaf Team Colombia, sent audiologists and others to help deaf Colombians. Another faith organization, the Lighthouse Chapel of the Deaf in Flint, Michigan, worked on building a combination school/church/medical facility in Cartagena, Colombia, as reported in the Flint Journal, February 21, 2004.

Colombian Social Service Organizations for the Deaf

Colombia has some social service organizations focused on educating and helping deaf people. One such organizatin is ICAL (www.icalcolombia.org/), whose name in Spanish loosely translates as "Foundation for the Deaf Boy." ICAL provides educational services beginning at the preschool level.

Sense International Latin America (www.senseintla.org) provides rehabilitation and employment services to deafblind Colombians. Another Sense-sponsored site is the informational Latin America Resource Centre for deafblindness, www.sordoceguera.org.

Deaf Education in Colombia

Colombia's deaf education services span the complete educational choice spectrum, from sign language to oral to mainstreamed, although the majority seem to be oral. There are even schools for the deaf that reverse mainstream hearing children. One deaf school that emphasizes sign language, is the Filadelfia School for the Deaf (Filadelfia para Sordos) in Bogota.

Deaf education in Colombia is overseen by the Colombian counterpart of our U.S. Department of Education, the Instituto Nacional para Sordos (INSOR). INSOR is also giving bilingual education for young deaf children as reported in the article "Bilingual Program for Deaf Children in Colombia," published in Rehabilitation International's newsletter One in Ten, Volume 20, 1999.

Laws for Deaf People in Colombia

Colombia has two key laws for deaf people. These laws are Law 324 passed in 1996, which officially recognizes Colombian sign language. The other law is Law 335, also passed in 1996, which requires captioning or sign language on television.

Colombian Deaf Culture Websites

SordosColombianos is the deaf culture site for Colombia. It includes humor and a social calendar.

Articles on Deafness in Colombia

A PubMed search turned up the following two articles:
  • Study of the etiology of deafness in an institutionalized population in Colombia. Am J Med Genet. 1992 Nov 1;44(4):405-8. - the abstract cites 16 schools for the deaf.
  • Usher syndrome: results of a screening program in Colombia. Clin Genet. 1991 Oct;40(4):304-11.

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