Videobooks for Deaf Children
Videobooks for Deaf Children
More than 90 percent of deaf children have hearing parents and teachers who do not communicate with them properly. Deaf children do not participate in conversations, may never have been told a story and have difficulties developing language and thinking. Even among deaf or hearing impaired children without any intellectual disability, the rate of functional illiteracy is high. How can their state of exclusion and gaps in language development be closed?
Virtual Videobooks in Sign Language is a gateway to cultural inclusion for deaf children and adolescents through literature and education. The project created the first free access site on the Internet (www.videolibros.org) comprising story books presented in its first stage in LSA (Argentine Sign Language) and later in different sign languages by deaf readers. The books have voiceover so they can be enjoyed by hearing families and teachers. So far, three book collections have been produced. This innovative video library is constantly extending to other sign languages and more stories to come!
Videobooks is an innovative solution that uses technology to reach isolated deaf children in rural areas, connect deaf children and deaf adults, promote reading, encourage the use of Sign Language, and transform education. Each month around 3,500 people visit the site from 40 countries, mostly in Latin America.
Many deaf children enter school without having developed any language. They have not had contact with their families through language, and their teachers do not know Sign Language. Schools lack accessible and appropriate material for this population. Often material is used that is intended for children with intellectual disabilities. The most vulnerable are those in rural areas. This situation leads to social exclusion, functional illiteracy, unemployment, low self-esteem and risk to physical and emotional health. There is a distinct lack of opportunity in higher education.
Access to written language and literature promotes education and social participation by allowing deaf children to share experiences and references with hearing children, and to better understand their environment and make their own decisions. Books in Sign Language with voiceover provide deaf children with access to Spanish texts and help acquaint hearing families and teachers with Sign Language. Videobooks supports valuable interaction between deaf children and hearing adults; it presents children with opportunities to encounter and identify with deaf people or characters within a bilingual intercultural educational model.
Videobooks webpage has more than 32,000 visits per year and over 1 million hits from 40 countries (an average of 3,500 visits per month). The books were downloaded from remote villages. The site, is included in the Ministry of Education’s Conectar Igualdad program. Videobooks has received many awards, including First prize in the Access category, awarded by The Regional Fund for Digital Innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean (FRIDA) initiative of the Regional Registry for Internet Registries for Latin America and the Caribbean (LACNIC), in 2013; the World of Solutions, from the Inter- American Development Bank, in 2011; and the WISE Award (World Innovation Summit for Education) in 2015. Teachers and parents from around the country have reported how they use the stories with the children. Authors have offered their works. It is estimated that approximately 12,000 deaf children and adolescents benefit from Videobooks only in Argentina.
Four new titles were recently included into the library of classic stories and six more are in the process of editing. Ten more titles in Uruguayan and Paraguayan sign languages are being produced with local partners, thanks to the WISE Award. Also, a new impact study on how Videobooks help deaf children at public schools develop communication and literacy skills is just finishing.
Other project, inspired on Videobooks, is now a new site in Internet, www.cuentoslsa.org.ar, in which video stories for deaf children in the hands of elderly deaf adults are shown.
In a near future a new webpage will be developed, taking into consideration the results of the impact study