Sense International marks International Week of Deaf People 2021

17 November 2021

At Sense International, we support people with deafblindness to access education, healthcare and the means to earn a living, so that they can thrive and live life to their full potential.

Today we are marking the beginning of International Week of Deaf People, which is celebrated by the global Deaf Community and aims to raise greater awareness about the rights of deaf people worldwide.

Many of the people that we support have a hearing impairment in addition to a visual impairment. This combination of sight and hearing impairments is known as deafblindness.

Although some people with deafblindness will retain a little sight and/or hearing that they are able to use, the severity of impairment to both these senses means that they cannot compensate for each other. This has a significant impact on the individual.

Identifying children with sensory impairments

Ensuring that children with deafblindness are identified early in life is a fundamental part of our work. Our early intervention programme ensures that infants undergo sight and hearing screening, and that those identified to have sensory impairments receive specialist support.

Children generally receive physiotherapy, speech therapy, and multi-sensory stimulation therapies, which encourage them to use all the senses to explore and play. As a result, they learn to become more mobile and to communicate, and develop skills that enable them to thrive.

Sense International Tanzania – Rita’s story

When Rita was born, she did not cry or feed for two days. After further investigation, she was found to have yellow fever. Thankfully, doctors were able to treat her, and she was discharged from hospital two weeks later.

After returning home, everything seemed normal. But when Rita was about three months old, her mother realised that she was not developing as expected. She noticed that Rita would remain calm even when loud noises were made close to her, and she would not always respond to sound.

Rita was assessed through Sense International Tanzania’s sensory screening programme. During the assessment process, the Occupational Therapist found that she had developmental delays, including a weakness in her neck. Her hearing screening results also showed that she had hearing problems, and she was referred for further diagnosis from the Audiologist.

Following her assessment, Rita was enrolled in Sense International Tanzania’s Early Intervention service, which offers specialist therapies to children identified to have sensory impairments. Since starting therapy with an Occupational Therapist, Rita has shown much improvement. She can now hold her neck upright and has started to hold and release items such as toys. She turns her head to a visual stimulus and can follow lights and objects. She is also responding with a smile to the people around her.

With the support of the Occupational Therapist and her mother, Rita is continuing to work towards achieving her developmental milestones.

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we are able to provide life-changing help to children like Rita and Sospeter. Your support makes a real difference.

Find out how you can make a donation.