5th Study Session - European Youth Centre in Strasbourg, France from 12-19 October, 2003
Building communication for hard of hearing youth: breaking down barriers and stereotypes
The background to the study session theme
Communication is one of the major problems facing youth groups and youth organizations in their work, and is especially difficult for hard of hearing youth. The lack of communication skills and self-confidence resulting from hearing impairment makes hard of hearing less visible on a scale of local and international youth work; it hampers the efficacy of hard of hearing youth work in non-governmental structures – in addressing the needs towards various bodies and authorities, in lobbying, interacting with governmental structures and simply in business conversation (at press-conferences, fourchettes, receptions) with donors, project officers, politicians and other key figures supporting NGO activities. On the other hand, people often don’t know how to deal and communicate with hard of hearing people – which may result in frustration, intolerance and conflict for both hearing-disabled and non-disabled members of community.
In the age of information it is necessary to keep pace with political and social developments. Keeping up with changes in reality is difficult for hard of hearing youth who lack access to information, communication and thus to institutions and society processes. Majority of hard of hearing people turns out to be outsiders in society life. In turn, society has formed the stereotype that hard of hearing minority is complacent with life in their own secluded environment, that sign language and a number of privileges compensate for their disability - this stereotype is equally common in countries of different level of economic, cultural, ethnic and social development.
In light of this, aim of the study session is: To increase participation of hard of hearing youth in the civil society and empower hard of hearing youth in informing society about their needs.
Objectives through which the aim shall be achieved