I have developed a checklist of 10 items with explanations which lists important values and regulations that should be included in a national law in order to officially recognize signed language and the fundamental rights that follow.
1. Signed language shall be legally recognized in the constitution. Sign language (SL) shall be recognized as a legal means of communication for the deaf.
It has the form of communication and expression in the language system, it is a visual modality, with its own grammatical structure, and constitutes a linguistic system of transmission of ideas and facts like spoken-languages.
2. The governments, businesses, secondary schools and universities shall support the use of and promote the SL.
SL functions as a means of communication in deaf communities. Deaf people have the same human rights as any other spoken languages.
3. Deaf citizens have the right to use SL, teaching sign language, and obtaining education in sign language.
Governments must recognize that Deaf pupils have the right to be taught in SL, teachers of the Deaf have the right to teach in SL and Deaf pupils have the right to obtain their education in SL.
4. The federal educational system, state educational systems, and municipal educational systems shall assure encompassment in training courses for Deaf Education, Special Education, and Speech Therapy for the prospect teachers in SL.
This act is designed to ensure all deaf children have a full accessibility obtaining education through sign language and ensure comprehension and expression from and toward certified and licensed signed teachers/signed speech pathologists and therapists.
5. Deaf students are entitled to free tuition courses in all level educational systems (primary education, secondary education, community colleges and universities).
This act will enable all deaf students earning equal education as spoken-language. The result of enacting this act is to the reveal the statistics show that the majority of deaf population are underemployed or unemployed. This act aims to reduce the disparity of this population and dependency on the welfare programs.
6. Television, internet, and any kind of media technologies shall include captions and Sign Language.
Deaf shall benefit and comprehend from captions as equally as the voice provided. This act is designed to guarantee respect for all deaf, their human dignity and equal opportunity.
7. Deaf citizens have the right to obtain interpreter services at no charge.
This act ensures all deaf citizens obtaining fully accessible communication as with an equal voice communication. Public and private institutions shall cover the expense of services.
8. Deaf students have the right to schooling in residential schools and day schools.
Deaf students shall receive education through bilingualism with qualified signing teachers. The written form of the mother tongue and SL itself are the languages of instruction used in the development of the whole educational process.
9. The federal government and state governments shall promote the cultural values and preservation of Sign Language for the deaf as a national language which grows the dignity for the deaf population.
This act increases the awareness of the disability population and reduces the stigma toward such disabilities, including that of the deaf population. This action will propel more accessibility to employment opportunities.
10. All deaf employees have the right to use sign language in places of employment and if necessary, obtain interpreter services at no expense to the deaf employee.
This act ensures all deaf employees receiving full accessibility to information from employers through signed interpreting. To safeguard the human right, using sign language is allowed in any kind of environment in workplaces as well as the ability to communicate to others. The reprisal or denial of using sign language in the workplaces is forbidden and shall be fined and sentenced to an individual employer or companies if found in violation of this act.
-Developed by Michael Halischak, 2012