September Deaf Celebrated!
In September, the deaf community celebrates September Deaf, which has been called Blue September, a period in which people without hearing recall their historic achievements and take actions to raise awareness about the importance of linguistic accessibility.
September was the chosen month because there are several significant dates for the deaf community – the International Day of Sign Languages (September 23), the International Day of the Deaf and the Day of the Professional Sign Language Interpreter (both on September 30).
In Brazil, September Deaf is celebrated on September 26 (as established by Law No. 11,796, of October 29, 2008), because on that date, in the year 1857, it was founded, thanks to the work of the French deaf teacher Eduard Huet, the first school for the deaf in Brazil, the current National Institute of Education for the Deaf (Ines) .
The trajectory of the deaf is fraught with struggles and conquests, setbacks and advances. Despite being historically excluded from society, they have aroused the interest of some educators who have endeavored to create educational means aimed at the development of the deaf.
An example is the method created by the French Abbot Charles Michel de l’Epée, who founded the first National Institute for Deaf Youth in Paris. At this institute, sign language came to be used as an expression of communication and teaching.
The view on sign languages, however, was modified years later. In the year 1880, the Milan Congress was held, in which educators opted for oralism. Deaf people should learn to speak (orally) and lip-read. Therefore, the use of sign languages in the education of the deaf was prohibited.
This prohibition caused great suffering for the deaf, who not only ceased to be taught through sign language, but also could no longer use it to communicate in educational spaces, being forced to speak.
Sign language, which, despite the prohibition, continued to be used by deaf people in other spaces, was again seen by educators as a path to teaching.
Initially, it was used only as a means of teaching the deaf and making them learn the oral language; later, recognized as a language, with the same status as oral, since before it was understood only as language. It is through it that the deaf develops cognitively, apprehends the world, communicates and assimilates the written oral language from which they live.
In Brazil, after years of struggles, the deaf community managed to make the Brazilian Sign Language (Libras) official as a legal means of communication and expression for the deaf community, by Law No. 10,436 / 2002 .
Thanks to this law, regulated by Decree No. 5.626 / 2005, deaf people must have guaranteed linguistic accessibility – the right to communicate and be served in a visual language that is accessible to them, Libras.
This decree not only made possible the presence of Libras in educational and public spaces. Finally, he recognized the linguistic right of the deaf community, as well as allowing the diffusion and respect for the identity and culture of the deaf.
Throughout history, deaf people have not always been allowed to act as protagonists. The decision to ban sign language in deaf education at the Milan Congress, for example, was taken by participating hearing teachers, since deaf educators were not invited to decide on something so vital to the deaf people.
Another, much more recent example is the participation of the deaf in entities representing the movement. In the early years of the National Federation of Education and Integration of the Deaf – Feneis -, a federal non-governmental organization that leads the demands of Brazilian deaf communities, there were listening members at the head of the board. Years later, they became the protagonists of the federation.
Get set for September Deaf celebrations!!