The Salamanca Statement and sign language education for deaf learners 25 years on
The Salamanca Statement and Framework for Action on Special Needs Education proposed a policy shift from special education to inclusive education models that require schools to serve all children. However, alongside this shift was a recognition that sign language access for deaf learners is essential for meeting the right to education and that this access cannot always be provided in mainstream settings. The Statement was written during an apex in bilingual education for deaf students in certain countries, and the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD), joined by Swedish and Danish government and deaf advocacy organisation delegates, successfully lobbied for inclusion of Section 21. This section makes three claims regarding the importance of policy-level recognition of differences among learners, the right of deaf learners to education in a national sign language, and the suggested greater suitability of deaf schools or congregated programmes for many deaf learners. The Salamanca Statement, like Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and related General Comments, makes universalising claims within a rights-based framework; however, the competing claims of deaf advocacy organisations have posed a challenge and corrective to such statements since deaf learners are often excluded in inclusive classrooms.
|Keywords||bilingual education, Deaf learners, inclusive education, Salamanca Statement, sign language, UN CRPD|
|Journal||International Journal of Inclusive Education|
Snoddon, K, & Murray, J.J. (Joseph J.). (2019). The Salamanca Statement and sign language education for deaf learners 25 years on. International Journal of Inclusive Education. doi:10.1080/13603116.2019.1622807