In the context of this pandemic situation, the European Federation of Parents of Hearing Impaired Children (FEPEDA) is aware that deaf and hard-of-hearing people are facing multiple barriers and calls European, national, regional and local authorities to assure their rights, recognised by UN CRPD:
Right to information: Persons with a hearing disability has the right to access to information simultaneously to the rest of the population. All the information provided online or recorded by audiovisual means (tv broadcasting or through internet) must include subtitling and sign language interpretation.
Right to health:
Access to emergency numbers: Different emergency numbers have been established in this context. It is essential to assure its accessibility through writing and videoconference.
Functioning of hearing aids: It is essential to assure the supply of batteries and spare parts of hearing aids and earing implants, as well repairs services.
Right to education: European children and young people are now studying at home, online education must be accessible for them: speech to text in teacher’s instruction and in any other audio material, subtitled audiovisual materials, written indications and guidelines for home work must be used, as well as sign language interpreters for those students who use this language.
Right to (re)habilitation: The public authorities must provide online resources to ensure that early attention and speech therapy services continue for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and teenagers, in order not to affect their progress or make the consequences of their hearing impairment worse, due to lack of specialized attention.
Right to leisure and culture: It is essential that TV programmes, including those for children and young people, are accessible, through subtitling and sign language interpretation.
Right to social protection: A disability in the family is an economical burden. Families with a deaf or hard-of-hearing member must be considered as vulnerable group in the future social protection measures
Right to be consulted: All the adopted measures must be consulted with the organisations representing deaf and hard-of-hearing persons and their families and their sustainability must be assured.
We, deaf and hard-of-hearing children and young people and their parents, will stay at home, but please do not leave anyone behind!