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Suniye has been making efforts to improve the existing facilities for hearing impaired children in the field of education and employment to bring them to the mainstream and enable them to live a normal life independently

Published on December 20, 2020 at 7:58 am

Updated on March 20, 2021 at 06:51 am


For 25 years, Suniye has been making efforts to improve the existing facilities for hearing impaired children in the field of education and employment to bring them to the mainstream and enable them to live a normal life independently
Hearing impairment is an invisible disability! It is a common mistake to assume that when a child is born deaf, it cannot hear or speak. Mostly such children have residual hearing which can enable them to learn to listen, speak, read, write and be part of the mainstream society. What is most important is that the child should start speech and language therapy at the earliest possible time. Research indicates that children identified with a hearing loss who begin therapy early can develop spoken language at par with their hearing peers.
New Delhi-based Suniye is a society of parents of hearing-impaired children, professionals, doctors, audiologists, speech therapists, teachers etc which helps children with hearing impairment in all possible ways, makes efforts to improve the existing facilities for them in the field of education and employment to bring them to the mainstream and enables them to live a normal life independently.
In 1995, Suniye was founded by a group of parents of hearing-impaired children. These parents had worked very hard to help their children acquire speech and language abilities and more importantly become independent citizens. Thus, they felt the need to pool in their collective knowledge and abilities to help other parents achieve the same with their children.

The Suniye Support School for Hearing Impaired Children in New Delhi.
Since 1995, Suniye has been running a support school totally free of charge for hearing-impaired children, which encourages inclusive education and helps in developing speech and language. It is one of the very few institutions in New Delhi teaching spoken language. Over the past 25 years, Suniye has helped a large number of children – almost 90% of them from low-income backgrounds – who have all gone on to do well in life. Presently, there are around 65 children attending classes conducted by four qualified teachers and counsellors. The mainstream school-going children amongst them attend language and speech classes and take our help in studies.
Suniye helps a child to use the residual hearing by wearing hearing aids and teach them to listen to sounds and learn to talk. Cochlear implant is another process to help a hearing-impaired child. In both cases, only hard work by the child and the parents can help the child overcome the deficiency. There is no short-cut available.
The basic goals of Suniye are to help the child wear hearing devices such as hearing aids, cochlear implants and other assistive devices; teach them language, speech and lip-reading skills for communication; and provide them opportunities for mainstream education and integration into society.
Facilities for conducting language and speech classes are available in a few government hospitals. These are found inadequate to meet the needs of all such children. The parents have, therefore, to seek the help of private institutions or teachers who charge exorbitantly. Since many parents cannot afford to spend so much, the children are deprived of timely help in acquiring language. We provide all services to the children free of cost.

Help a child hear sponsorship programme.
Suniye’s work
• Counsel parents of hearing-impaired children about the problem and how they can help in the development of speech and language
• Helps the children in getting hearing and speech evaluation done (audiometry), prescription of suitable hearing aids, preparation of moulds etc
• Help the children in pre-school training including exposure to practical experiences
• Help the parents in securing admission for the children in schools
• Organise support programmes in schools where the children study
• Organise home visits to counsel other members of the house and explaining to them the role they can play to help the child to listen to sounds and learn to talk
• Interact with principals and teaching staff of schools as a group to sensitise them about the problem and to ensure their co-operation and help in the education of such children studying in their schools
• Organise lectures, seminars etc. by eminent persons on the subject of hearing impairment and allied matters
• Take up with the government and other bodies, issues regarding facilities and concessions to hearing-impaired children and other disabled persons
• Provide free hearing aids to deserving poor children with the help of Rotary Clubs and other philanthropic organisations or individuals
What is Hearing Impairment?
Hearing impairment is the inability of a child or person to listen to sounds. This could be by birth or congenital i.e. pre-lingual or post-lingual. The congenital loss could be due to toxic drugs, jaundice, German measles, premature birth, heredity, illness during pregnancy etc. Post lingual loss could be due to accidents, illness, old age, drugs etc. A unique feature of hearing loss or deafness is that it is invisible unlike all other disabilities, which are visible to the eyes. Hearing impairment is felt only when an interaction takes place between two persons and one of them is not able to communicate with the other like two normal persons.
It is well recognised that hearing is critical to speech and language development, communication and learning. Children with listening difficulties due to hearing loss or auditory processing problems continue to be an under-identified and under-served population. The earlier hearing loss occurs in a child’s life, the more serious are the effects on the child’s development. Similarly, the earlier the problem is identified and intervention started, the less serious the ultimate impact.
Following are some of the ways hearing loss affects children:
• It causes a delay in the development of receptive and expressive communication skills (speech and language)
• The language deficit causes learning problems that result in reduced academic achievement
• Communication difficulties often lead to social isolation and poor self-confidence
• It has an adverse psychological impact on the person
• It may have an impact on vocational choices

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