Statistics institute presents initial results of deaf community needs study
By The Star Staff
Puerto Rico Institute of Statistics Executive Director Orville Isdier presented the first results Thursday of the Needs Study of the Deaf Community in Puerto Rico, through an interactive digital report.
The interactive report presents the results of focus group interviews with teachers and teachers of students with hearing difficulties. The platform presents, for both deaf and partially deaf people, data and statistics on sociodemographic aspects, on the difficulties encountered when requesting services, both governmental and non-governmental, on the communication methods used by the community and on the difficulties of accessing information offered by various media, among other findings, Isdier said.
“The data and statistics presented in this interactive report serve as an empirical basis to justify various initiatives and the development of new public policies that promote quality services and a better integration of deaf people into the rest of society, promoting their time equity and social justice,” Disdier said in a written statement.
Some of the most relevant results of the Deaf Community Needs Study were that:
* 9% of all respondents indicated that they were totally deaf.
* 14% of all respondents indicated that they were partially deaf.
* 62% of totally deaf people who participated in the survey were deaf from birth, while the remaining 38% became deaf at some point after birth.
* 66% of the partially deaf who participated in the survey have a level of severe or profound deafness.
* 86% of totally deaf people surveyed stated that they frequently felt discriminated against (41% very often and 45% sometimes). For their part, 68% of the partially deaf people surveyed stated that they frequently felt discriminated against (20% very often and 48% sometimes).
* Barriers were encountered by 84% of totally deaf people surveyed who needed public safety services.
* Barriers were encountered by 75% of totally deaf people surveyed who needed services from government agencies.
Meanwhile, 53% of the partially deaf people surveyed, who needed services from government agencies, faced barriers.
Other places where totally deaf people surveyed indicated that they have faced difficulties in receiving services, integrating or participating, were: Hospitals (55%), medical offices (46%), restaurants (42%), banks or cooperatives (42%), place of employment (34%), cinema or theater (28%), supermarkets (24%), concerts or festivals (22%) and gas stations (22%).
The communication methods used by totally deaf people surveyed were: Lip reading (83%), ASL signs (64%), writing (65%), verbal (59%), creole signals (56%), interpreter (45%) and non-formal signals (26%).
Meanwhile, the communication methods that partially deaf people surveyed use the most are verbal (87%), lip reading (59%) and written (43%).
About 51% of totally deaf people surveyed reported using one of the following hearing devices: Behind the ear (64%), hearing device CROS – BI-CROS (14%), in ear – intra shell (11%), cochlear implant (8%), open ear – miniature size (3%).
58% of the partially deaf people surveyed reported using one of the following hearing devices: Behind the ear (53%), hearing device CROS – BI-CROS (26%), in the channel – intrachannel (11%), in ear – intra shell (5%), others (6%).
Ten percent of all respondents indicated that they are hearing people (not deaf or hard of hearing) but live with a deaf person.
Forty-three percent of the listeners surveyed, who live with a deaf person, have not taken sign language courses.
Meanwhile, 42% of all respondents indicated that they are hearing people (who are not deaf or partially deaf) but who know a deaf person.
Twenty-five percent of all respondents indicated that they are hearing people (not deaf or hard of hearing) who do not live with a deaf person and who do not know a deaf person.
In general terms, the educators who participated in the focus groups agreed that there are not many adapted materials for deaf students, so sometimes the teachers themselves have to modify the materials.
They found that, in general, parents and/or guardians are not given the necessary support at the time the minor is diagnosed.
Disdier noted that the final sample of the survey consisted of 739 adults, 18 years of age or older, residing in Puerto Rico, and it was accessible for more than 60 days. A total of 21 educators took part in various focus groups, in which in-depth conversations about the needs of deaf students were held.