Nicaragua announces new resources for people with visual and hearing impairment

NSCAG News | on: Monday, 14 March 2016

The Central American University (UCA) has announced the inauguration of a web site (www.etavs.org) with information about resources for people who are blind or deaf and a communications platform for them to use. At the inauguration of the site, Samuel Ubeda said that the project “will be administered by the deaf and the blind with the help of volunteers.” According to a government census carried out five years ago, Nicaragua has 16,000 people with visual impairment and 13,000 persons with hearing impairment.

Nicaragua has also developed unique sign language for the hearing impaired which was invented without reference to other sign languages by students at Managua’s Melania Morales School for the Deaf in the 1980s. Frustrated by their teachers’ insistence on oral teaching and verbal responses, students at the school surreptitiously developed their own sign language and in 1994 produced a dictionary of signs after convincing skeptical teachers that they were communicating rather than mimicking. Juan Javier Lopez, president of the Federation of Associations of People with Disabilities (FECONORI), said, “They prohibited us from using signs but it was natural for us.” Today Nicaragua’s unique sign language is studied by linguists; recognized (since 2009) in Nicaraguan law; one can earn a teaching degree in it; and there is even a television show in Nicaraguan sign language on Channel 6. Classes are taught at the headquarters of the Association of the Deaf of Nicaragua (ASNIC) and families are provided with the education in sign language that they need to communicate with deaf family members.



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