Hearing Impairment

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Definitions and Scope

Target Population: [name of target group]

Client Segments

[Eg. For at risk youth, some could have behavioural problems and be beyond parental control. Others could merely be disengaged and bored in school. Because it seems like different engagement strategies can be customized to these sub-types, it may make sense to segmentize.]

Size of the Problem

The Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) estimates that there are 500,000 people suffering from hearing loss to varying degrees, although it could not give a breakdown. [“ Listen, hear their woes” ST, 11 September 2011]

In 2005, the estimate for those suffering hearing loss - in a report in Annals, Academy of Medicine, Singapore (AAMS) - was 360,000, of which 10 per cent are deaf.[“ Listen, hear their woes” ST, 11 September 2011]


Sign Language in Singapore

1950s - Beginnings

File:SADeaf logo.jpg
The Singapore Association For The Deaf (SADeaf) aims to assist the deaf to achieve a better quality of life and to enable them to integrate and contribute to society.

The history of sign language in Singapore can be traced back to 1951 when Peng Tsu Ying left China for Singapore to teach deaf children in their homes. Born in Shanghai, Peng became deaf at the age of 6, and was educated in Hong Kong School for the Deaf (now known as Chun Tok School) and Shanghai Chung Wah School for the Deaf. With Peng’s education background in Shanghainese Sign Language (SSL) and together with a group of Chinese merchants, in March 1954, the Singapore Chinese Sign School for the deaf was opened. Singapore then, was predominantly Chinese and many diverse varieties were spoken.[1] Peng and his wife, being also deaf, used SSL in the sign school to teach children to read in Chinese, and other subjects at the primary level.

During the same period in the early 1950s, the Singapore Red Cross began conducting oral classes for deaf children and provided counselling services for parents of deaf children. As the demand for classes increased, the Singapore Red Cross Society and officials of the Social Welfare Department founded The Singapore Association For The Deaf (SADeaf) (then known as Singapore Deaf and Dumb Association) in 1955. It was in 1963 when the sign school and the oral school merged to become the Singapore School for the Deaf (SSD). Within the same premises, students in the oral section of the school were taught in English as the medium of instruction, while students in the signing section of the school were taught in Chinese, with SSL as the medium of instruction.[2]

1966 - Bilingual policy

Template:Main The Bilingual Education policy, which came into effect in 1966, marked a linguistic transition for Singapore. The policy places English as the main medium of instruction.[3] Since English became the language of instruction in the education sector, parents could chose education through any one of the four official languages (Mandarin, Malay, Tamil) but all students also had to study English, in non-English-medium schools. The government then required all schools to teach Math and Science in English starting at primary one.[4]

This policy is significant to the local deaf community because it has marked a change in educating the deaf. Singapore, once under colonial rule, had been influenced by the British in learning English through the oral method. Furthermore, mainstream education in Singapore was moving towards English education and schools were beginning to switch to English as a medium of instruction. This posed a dilemma to the deaf community because the oral method was not suited to every student. While parents wanted their children to learn English, they have been learning SSL, which was associated with written Chinese.

1970s

Lim Chin Heng, a former student under Peng, went to the United States of America (USA) to learn English and their sign system, the American Sign Language (ASL). While studying, Lim also got to know some of the professors and authors in USA who were developing a sign system to teach English specifically, called Signing Exact English (SEE-II). Lim became the first Singaporean to enter Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C, an American university for the deaf. He graduated in with a degree in Mathematics, returned to Singapore and introduced ASL to the deaf community by 1974.[2] Written English was known to be associated with ASL because ASL has seen the least number of generational breaks and was well-transmitted as compared to European counterparts. The international deaf community looked up to America as having a strong tradition in protecting their deaf and deaf rights. Hence, ASL was adopted to teach English as a medium of instruction to the deaf because it was seen as the best sign language to learn English.

In 1976, SADeaf invited Frances M. Parsons, then an associate professor at the Gallaudet University to promote Total Communication. Total Communication is a philosophy which uses signs, speech, gestures, speech reading, amplification, finger spelling, and/ or other mode of communication to provide linguistic input to deaf children.[5] In the same year, Lim also brought back SEE-II to the local deaf community.

By 1977, the Total Communication approach was fully implemented in SSD.[2] Lim also taught basic ASL classes for teachers and eventually ASL was taught to students in SSD.[6] By 1978, SEE-II was adopted as the mode of communication and instruction by SADeaf in its affiliated schools, in SSD and Vocational School for the Handicapped (now known as Mountbatten Vocational School). However, the sign section of SSD, which used SSL, was phased out in 1983 because there were gradually fewer parents who opted for a Chinese education for their deaf children.[2]

In 1985, SADeaf joined the World Federation of the Deaf.

2000s

The term Singapore Sign Language (SgSL) was coined by Andrew Tay in 2008. Tay emphasized the importance of SgSL in the deaf community to help deaf people develop their self-esteem, self-confidence, cognitive power as well as recognize their deaf identity.[7]

Present

Today, sign language used in Singapore is a continually developing blend of Shanghainese, American and locally generated signs.[6] It comprises different types of systems, including SEE-II, Pidgin Signed English (PSE) and gestures.[8] SgSL is socially recognised and accepted by the deaf community in Singapore, and is a reflection of Singapore's diverse linguistic culture.

Desired impact for target group

[If we have no conception of what counts as a ‘good death’, ‘social inclusion’, ‘engaged youth’ , then it would not be possible to determine whether our policies and services are performing well]

Needs of [insert client type]


Need for [ insert description ]

[Needs should not be identified in term of its specific solutions—eg youths need mentoring, seniors need hospice care, people with disabilities need day care (these are specific solutions we can be in the next column)—Instead, they should be defined in more ‘perennial terms’ because the solutions can change but the needs remain; I don’t need a CD player, or even an mp3 player, I need ‘portable music’ and currently the best solution seems to be Spotify]

[Also indicate the size of this specific need & projected demand were data is available]

Existing Resources

[e.g. existing services or programmes both private or public; relevant policies and legislation]

Gaps and Their Causes

[Some gaps could be due to 1) capacity of solution to meet size & projected demand, 2) quality of solution (effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, scalability etc.), 3) accessibility (geographical, cost to client)]

Possible Solutions

[Based on the specific gaps and reasons for those gaps, what might be solutions that can help? Insert existing but untapped resources, or new ideas that have not been considered yet]


Need for [ insert description ]

Existing Resources

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions


Need for [ insert description ]

Existing Resources

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions


Need for [ insert description ]

Existing Resources

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions


Need for [ insert description ]

Existing Resources

Gaps and Their Causes

Possible Solutions


Resource Directory

[insert organization name]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sign_language_in_Singapore

[insert organization name]

Insert web link