Shortage of speech therapists hurting hearing-impaired

National 1 minute, 35 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE National Association of the Deaf (OKP) is currently having difficulties in getting speech therapists to train hearing-impaired members due to the shortage of them in Brunei, according to one of the advisors of the National Association of the Deaf (OKP).

Hj Abd Hakim Hj Mohd Yassin said, OKP is still looking to get language and speech therapists for the organisation as currently there is no expert to help them in assisting the members to develop their communication skills.

“Currently there are around 170 members under the organisation. Speech therapists under authority are not enough to provide the service to every hearing-impaired person in the country,” he said.

He said that there are no cured cases among hearing impaired people. “The only way to help them is to improve their communication skills.”

The organisation had sent several of its members to Singapore to undergo a special course to improve their speech skills, he said, adding that such a programme is an alternative solution to their problem.

Three members of OKP are currently in Singapore for one week to participate in the 8th World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) Regional Secretariat for Asia (RSA) Youth Camp and learn the sign languages of the Asia-Pacific region with aim to build friendship with hearing-impaired individuals in this region.

Hj Abd Hakim said that as of this year, there are around 20 newly registered hearing impaired people under OKP and this number has been increasing every year.

Previously, based on a figure provided by Special Education Unit under the Ministry of Education, it was reported that around 150 hearing impaired students registered in 2016, 143 students in 2015, while 136 students in 2014.

“The twenty newly registered hearing impaired members under the organisation are mostly school students aged below 20,” Hj Abd Hakim said.

In a bid to increase awareness about deaf people in Brunei, the organisation is also active in organising events nationwide.

The Brunei Times