The Deaf: Communication as A Tool for Personal Development

“The thing that’s probably the most important is having an ability to communicate, and to be able to express ourselves with pure clarity and pristine courtesy, because it is good for our survival. It’s good for our relationships. It’s good for our emotional wellness.”

  By Raji Ade Oba

As Deaf, the challenges that we face in the society, as well as in our personal lives, are too numerous to count. Many Deaf individuals, including various deaf learners in Nigeria, have been continually grappling with significant attitudinal and institutional obstacles- let alone deaf learners’ poor academic performances across schools in Nigeria- academic performances that are mainly due to their sensory impairment- their inability to perceive instructional information as consequence of their hearing loss.

We have very fine brains.

However, nothing has been impossible for the Deaf individual with drive and skills.

With an inability to hear and produce sounds loud and clear, the single-greatest good a deaf individual can do himself/herself, is to have the capacity to speak (sign) and write correct English- English expressions that are accurate and cultured to everyone’s taste and understanding.

Although, by some measure, our intelligence has nothing significant to do with our ability to express ourselves clearly, interestingly, English communication skills- how we use the English, are what other people, including organizations, are increasingly looking at in job applicants. But language skills are also good for social relationships.

But communication is more than an ability to say all these. Communication is more than writing, speaking and listening.

Time and again, we have found that no amount of pieces of legislation or policies has been able to completely wipe out the discrimination and stigmatization that Deaf people continually encounters in this society. Then, we have got to begin to take personal responsibilities for our own lives.

What is needed is none other than communication skills. an ability to speak correct English, to communicate with clarity and courtesy using the English Language.

However, communication is more than speaking and writing artfully. Communication is the heart and soul of the human experience. There’s nothing like it!

Communication ability- our capacity to express ourselves with clarity and brilliance, has never been more essential. However, mastery of the English Language and communication skills is essential especially for the Deaf who have been continually discriminated and marginalized against as a consequence of or inability to produce coherent speech or writing. But given our pervasive problems in communication, there is a prevalent misconception about the Deaf, that says “Deaf people have lower intelligence compared to their hearing counterpart.” 

Without excellent communication skills, we would continue to have trouble in every area- school, work, relationships, and so forth. if we cannot express ourselves clearly and correctly, it is going to affect our prospects in every conceivable way. 

Research has discovered that poor communication skills- the ability to speak, write and sign with clarity and politeness on the part of the deaf, explain the larger part of challenges of the deaf- low job prospects, low political participation, poor inclusion, discrimination, and stigmatization, among others.

To improve our resources and opportunities, the mastery of English and communication skills are highly indispensable.

Here are 5 ways that communication skills are essential for the Deaf

  1. You Understand the world better. When you understand the world better, you have a sense of balance
  2. Excellent communication earns you great admiration. communication is an ingredient of interpersonal skills. The most personable and people have been individuals who have good communication skills.
  3. Excellent communication increases job prospect. The ability to communicate effectively is one essential skill that companies and hiring organizations are increasingly looking for in job applicants. If you can communicate your way through, you can get the plum job.
  4. Excellent communication improves relationships and enhances emotional health. This is because you understand everyone better and everyone understands you better and there is minimal conflict and you are happier and are emotionally healthier.
  5. Excellent communication is a leadership quality. We all would like to be leaders. We all enjoy being associated with a leader. No big deal. If we can communicate effectively, then we can influence others to accomplish specific goals. That is an essential idea of leadership.

I have unapologetically believed that the thing that’s probably the most important- particularly for the Deaf, is to be able to communicate- to use the English language beautifully, to sign English with clarity. But communication- the ability to speak and write (English expressions) to convey a message or information, is very important for the Deaf. However, many of us aren’t so fine in this aspect- particularly most pre-lingual deaf individuals.

With an inability to hear and produce sounds loud and clear for a lot of us, the single-greatest good a deaf individual can do himself/herself, is to have the capacity to speak (sign) and write correct English- English expressions that are accurate and clear to everyone’s taste and understanding.

We encourage the Deaf community to do more in the improvement of our communication skills. It is our greatest tool. But, with it, nothing can be impossible for us.

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