IT Education for the Deaf

Sir Ervin lectures in PSD seminar.
This is an excerpt of the lecture given by my deaf buddy Ervin Reyes during the centennial anniversary of Philippines School for the Deaf.

Information Technology (IT) has opened up many opportunities for the deaf. The reasons are:

  • IT improves productivity – It increases activity for the deaf.
  • IT is an industry – Many jobs were opened through IT.
  • IT empowers the deaf – Just like cellphone texting, it gives the deaf a chance to express themselves.

Why is computer education and employment fitted for the deaf?

Computers are very much adaptable to the deaf because of the following advantages:

  • Minimum Supervision – Most of the time, the interaction is between the computer and the deaf person. Occasional instructions coming from the immediate supervisor and managers are given but not too often. Some communication barriers are removed.
  • Enhances Deaf Creativity – Due to their visual concentration, a vast majority of deaf persons are highly skilled in drawing and designing. Given the opportunity, they can excel in fields like Web Page Design, Visual Arts and Graphics Animation.
  • Computers Are Deaf Friendly – There is no need to make additional adjustments on computer units and peripherals. No special softwares to install. Computers are visually enhanced equipment and doesn’t rely on sounds and sonic effects. A keyboard, mouse and a well-lighted place are all it needs for the Deaf person to work.

What career opportunities can computers give to the deaf?

The deaf can be employed in:Graphics animation, Data Entry Operations, Computer Operations,
Computer Programming, Computer or cellphone repairs/servicing (technician), Software and Web page development. They can also become IT entrepreneurs and establish their own businesses.

What are problems encountered by deaf workers?

Among the biggest obstacles the deaf person is encountering while employed in companies are:

  • Language barrier – Companies don’t hire sign language interpreters. Deaf most of the time do lots of guess work.
  • Lack of awareness on part of companies – Most companies fear that hiring a deaf would pose a great risk due to their disability.
  • Lack of corporate values and ethics on part of deaf worker – The deaf must understand the different environment surrounded by hearing people in a big company or industry.

Hope for the Filipino Deaf

With advances in IT, more jobs will be offered in business process outsourcing. Also, with increased Internet usage, more opportunities will open on web page designing, developing and information encoding. And with increased popularity in digital graphics, more work for graphic artists, photographers, animators, etc.

“Through IT, we can achieve a level playing field between the hearing and the deaf person.”

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