Solomon Okelola, the CEO of LionHeart Ability Leaders International Foundation has called on the government at different levels to recognize individuals with deaf-blindness in their policies for Persons with Disability.
Speaking to BONews at a preliminary training and workshop on communication and teaching methods for individuals with deaf-blindness, Mr Okelola said the government had in time past failed to recognize the deaf-blind society while planning for the various classes of persons with special needs.
Lamenting the low awareness of the deaf-blind condition, Mr Okelola explained that findings of surveys conducted to find out how teachers, policy makers and health workers know of the condition was not encouraging
“We need to have individuals with deaf-blindness recognised in government policies. You hear the government planning for various disability clusters but you never hear of them talking about individuals with deaf-blindness, they need to recognise these individuals as equal citizens of the state and know how they can provide for the academic and health need,” he said.
“So far so good we are really making progress in educating the government, educators and the health policymakers in Lagos state we conducted a survey to assess how well teachers in public and private special and mainstream schools know about deaf-blindness and the effect on the academic and the social-emotional wellbeing of the affected individuals.
“We also conducted a survey to assess how well medical practitioners in state hospitals know about usher syndrome which is the major cause of deaf-blindness, the finding was not really encouraging at all,” He added.
Mr Okelola further emphasized the need to enlighten and educate medical practitioners on Usher syndrome to reduce the number of individuals with deaf-blindness.
Mr Okelola disclosed that his organisation is currently relating with the government and hopes that, “very soon working together, we will be able to start building a future for individuals with deaf-blindness.”
Usher Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder caused by gene mutation that results in a combination of hearing loss and visual impairment.