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Sign Language Week 2014

Sign Language Week 2014

On the eve of New Zealand Sign Language Week 2014 the Human Rights Commission has highlighted the fundamental role education plays in the lives of young deaf New Zealanders.

“Deaf children should be able to enjoy quality education in their own language but this isn’t a reality for all our tamariki,” says Health and Disability Commissioner Paul Gibson.

“It’s crucial children acquire language skills early in life but early childhood education for deaf youngsters is limited in our country and our children suffer as a result.”

“Realising the rights of deaf children to a quality education is a key priority for their families and the Human Rights Commission.”

A key finding of the commission’s inquiry into New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL), A New Era in the Right to Sign, was the need for families to be exposed to and to learn NZSL alongside their child as soon as possible.

Boosting access to education and early childhood education for deaf people were other key findings.

“We urge Government to continue to boost resources and support to enable deaf children to acquire NZSL during their early childhood years,” said Mr Gibson.

“More than 24,000 New Zealanders use NZSL every day, it’s our 12th most frequently used language in Aotearoa. Sign Language Week is a great time for people to find out more about NZSL, and to have a go at learning a few words.”

New Zealand Sign Language is an official language of New Zealand.


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