There are approximately 7,000 deaf children in Jamaica between ages 0-14. In all the schools for the Deaf, there are only about 600 students. Where are the other 6,400 children? Either they are enrolled in public schools where they cannot hear their teacher and have no support services, or they are not being sent to school at all. These children do not know sign language and cannot hear spoken words. They have no language and no way to communicate.
We want to bring stakeholders together to develop a program to find these children before it’s too late. We want to help parents understand that their deaf children can learn, and that it is important for their children to learn a language as early as possible. We want to help give these children their best chance for educational, social, and vocational success.