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Deafness in India

Rapidly Developing Deaf Community

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Updated April 28, 2009

  • Project Deaf India (www.projectdeafindia.org/), a joint project of Rotary Club Newport Balboa, California in the United States and the Rotarians of Rotary Mysore in India's Mysore, Karnataka state. Project Deaf India focuses on total communication schools and technical education for deaf people in India.
  • Sense International India (www.senseintindia.org/htmls/index.html) partners with more than twenty organizations working with the deaf or blind, to encourage them to add services for deafblind people. Their home page estimates that India has over 400,000 deafblind children. One of Sense's partners is The Helen Keller Institute for Deaf and Deafblind, Mumbai, Maharastra, which runs a school for deafblind children, and provides training for working with and teaching deafblind people.
  • Voice for the Deaf is a project of the Family Care Foundation (www.familycare.org/index.html) that works with deaf and hard of hearing children in Hyderabad, Mysore, and Secunderabad. Voice for the Deaf offers computer education and starts job ventures such as earmold-making laboratories.
Deaf Ministries in India

Deaf ministries working in India fill educational gaps, providing vocational training and running small Christian schools. A few examples of deaf ministries (and some regular non-deaf ones) active in India:

  • Asian Aid USA (www.asianaidusa.org/) is associated with the Seventh Day Adventist church, and it supports a deaf school in Kollegal, Karnakata state.
  • Catholic Mission in Australia (www.catholicmission.org.au) supports a school for the blind and deaf in Madras.
  • Ebenezer Fellowship of the Deaf in Kerala(www.workersforjesus.com/dfi/s-46.htm)
  • International Lutheran Deaf Association (www.lcmsdeaf.org/ilda/ILDAmis.html)has a mission project in India supporting the Ep-phatha Lutheran Deaf School.
  • Maharashtra Deaf Fellowship of India (http://www.societyforthedeaf.org/) is active in Aurangabad, Bombay, Nagpu, Nasik, and Pune.

Research on Deafness in India

A handful of deaf education professionals have published several articles on deafness in India.

Ila Parasnis is part of the research faculty at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf/Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. A listing of her projects, presentations, and publications that includes topics related to India is on the RIT website.

Dilip Deshmukh is another expert on deafness in India. He has been associated with a deaf foundation in Maharashtra state. Deshmukh wrote a book, Sign language & Bilingualism in Deaf Education, which includes topics such as the status of sign language in deaf education in India.

Jill Jepson published at least a few articles in Sign Language Studies and elsewhere:

  • "Two Sign Languages in a Single Village in India." Sign Language Studies, 70:47-59
  • "Urban and Rural Sign Language in India." Language in Society, 1/2:37-57
  • "Some aspects of the deaf experience in India." Sign Language Studies 20/73:453-9
Older issues of Sign Language Studies that have these articles can be obtained on a CD from Gallaudet University Press (gupress.gallaudet.edu/SLScd.html).

Madan Vasishta is an associate professor in the Department of Administration and Supervision at Gallaudet University, and has been a superintendent for deaf schools. He also returns to India frequently to teach. Vasishta has published or co-authored several works on deafness in India, including:

  • Three articles on sign language in Bangalore, Bombay, and Calcutta, in the Gallaudet Research Institute Monograph, issue number 4.
  • Deaf in Delhi: A Memoir. Gallaudet University Press. (Not yet published as of the time this article was written. Publication date is March 2006). (compare prices)
  • Co-authored an Indian sign language dictionary, An introduction to Indian Sign Language that focused on the sign language of Delhi.
  • "Sign languages in India: regional variations within the deaf populations," Indian journal of applied linguistics, v.4 no.2, p.66-74.
  • Clubs for deaf people in India. In: Erting, Carol J. et al (eds): The deaf way : perspectives from the International Conference on Deaf Culture. Washington, DC : Gallaudet Univ. Press (1994) - pp. 532-534
Other Articles on Deafness in India

Additional articles on deafness in India:

  • "Education of the deaf in India," in the book Global perspectives on the education of the deaf (compare prices)
  • Presentations on deafness in India at conferences of the International Congress on Education of the Deaf. For example, the 1980 Congress had "A study of the existing facilities for the education of the deaf in India in the light of the country's social and economic conditions," and "Pre-school education and parent counselling for integration in India."

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