‘Dutch people know too little about deafness’

‘Dutch people know too little about deafness’

Photo: Hollandse Hoogte

Many Dutch people know not enough about deafness and sign language. That, say experts at the Radboud University nijmegen and University of Amsterdam

It is Saturday Werelddovendag, a day in which is attempted to generate more attention to deafness and sign language. According to Beppie van den Bogaerde, professor gymnasium floor at the Hogeschool Utrecht, it is this day important for the deaf community. “People really know very little.”

Catching up for the deaf community in the Netherlands is, according to her, to reach to the professionals working with deaf people. “I take it professionals resent it, they are unconsciously incompetent. If you are not aware of that you don’t know something, then ask you no questions. People should be open to deaf persons. I hope that people are consciously incompetent. That they of themselves know that they don’t know too much about it and so expertise elsewhere.”

Also research assistant for Linguistics at the Radboud University Merel van Zuilen will find that professionals in deaf and hard of hearing, too much focus on the medical aspect of deafness. “The concern seems to mainly be aimed at the ears and the non-functioning, but a deaf person is more than that. This limited focus may result in the upbringing of a deaf child.”

“Workers would have more contact with deaf people should come to learn of them”, decision Of Columns.


The Second Chamber voted in January with the UN convention on “equal rights for people with a disability’. With the signing of this treaty the government is obliged to all government information and buildings accessible for everyone.

Van den Bogaerde: “That treaty is already a very long time ago. but only now ratified. The netherlands is lagging behind in the field of disability studies.”

“We need deaf people do not see it as pathetic and look at the things they can’t. People have a positive approach and see what they can contribute to society. It is a mindset change.”


According to Columns develops the sign language in “quite fast” pace. “If there is in politics a new person in the news, there is soon a naamgebaar for that person. This can be based on physical characteristics, properties, or a tic of someone.”

“The street language in young deaf people, for example, is almost impossible to keep up. With my 34 years, I am already old as I, young people of 17 encounter with all sorts of ‘codes’ for things and own gestures. Slang is an expression of creativity, there is the spot between the young people themselves.”

By the advent of the cochlear implant (CI), that deaf and hard of hearing helps, concludes Of Columns that sign language, or less, of course, is offered to the deaf child. Parents that deaf children have, get a assistance which “unilaterally focused on speech and rehabilitation by the expectations surrounding the CI”.

Of Columns, calls this a worrying development: “The use of sign language is the best way to a mental retardation in a child and to prevent the acceptance of deafness increase. It also gives a child security and overview in his or her own environment.”

“As thin out the rank and file of the dovenwereld. Every deaf and hard of hearing child should grow up with sign language. There does not need to be chosen for one or the other.”

Lower school

If Van den Bogaerde is, should children in elementary school all the knowledge about deaf people and sign language are taught. “You have children at a young age to learn that people who are different, not less or more, or scary. Everyone is different.”

“Parents with deaf children wordren now advised to not so much with sign language, but to a CI. We must, as a society, sign language, embrace, and say, ‘we all benefit’.”

Of Columns is to agree with Van den Bogaerde that sign language is already on the lower school children must be taught. “The language can be used to strengthen memory, spatial awareness and thinking skills to increase and it is the expressiveness for good.”

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