UPDATE: XVII World Congress of WFD – 30th July

The World Congress is well and truly under way with our 2nd day of Plenary addresses highlighting the two Commission topics.

Our plenary presenters, both from the United States of America, explored Deaf Education and Accessibility & Technology. Dr Peter Hauser gave a presentation which went to the heart of an issue for many deaf people: education. Dr. Hauser’s presentation strongly supported the necessity of sign language for children in deaf education. Dr. Hauser emphasized there was no research supporting the myth that sign language would hurt deaf children’s speech. In fact, the neuroscience of langauge acquisition shows numerous benefits for deaf children who are given sign language exposure at an early age.

While Ms Melissa MALZKUHN told audience members that deaf people needed to “own technology,” by which she meant deaf people could take advantage of the many advances in visual technologies to create new opportunities for communication, learning, and promoting sign language. Malzkuhn gave numerous examples of existing techologies which could better deaf peoples lives, such as mobile apps which taught sign language, e-books, and signing #D avatars. This plenary presentation took conference goers into the future of deaf lives and new technologies.