12 / 1994
Research studies show that the deaf parent’s personal experience of deafness, skills in communication and participation in the deaf community, account for advantage which their deaf children have over deaf children of hearing parents in communication and language development, educational attainment, social maturity and self image.
Deaf adults have long sought to make their experience of being deaf, deaf culture, skills in sign language and communication and their membership of the deaf community accessible to deaf children and their hearing families, particularly through a direct involvement in the education system.
However,little consideration has been given to how such expertise and experience could be made available to deaf children who are unable to live with their own families. Research and development work in the UK and USA have attempted to : 1°)raise awareness amongst the deaf community about the needs of such children who are cared for by public welfare services and 2°)influence the policy and practice of agencies responsible for funding substitute families to recruit deaf carers (adoptive and foster parents).
The methods employed include publication of books and literature of social workers, production of video in sign language for deaf people (UK), research on the needs and numbers of deaf children in need of families (UK and USA)and networking families seeking or currently for a deaf child (USA).
This paper points up that there is a paucity in deaf foster families and confronts the deaf community to this question.
GESTES Groupe d’Etude Spécialisé "Thérapies et Surdités"organised in Paris the ESMHD European Society for Mental Health and Deafnessthird international congress, on december 1994. The publication of the proceedings will occur later on.
Written from the speech of Robert PECKFORD, Director of advocacy services, British Deaf Association, 38 Victoria Place, Carlisle, CA1 1HU UNITED KINGDOM. Phone 00 44 (0228)48844 (Voice and text)00 44 (0228)28719 (text ansaphone after hours)00 44 (0228)41420 (Fax)
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PECKFORD, Robert, GESTES
GESTES (Groupe d’Etudes Spécialisé Thérapies et Surdité) - 8 rue Michel Peter, 75013 Paris, FRANCE. Tel/Fax 00(331)43 31 25 00 - Franca - gestes (@) free.fr