A Technological Solution for Communication With Deaf Students in the Institutions of Kuwait

A Technological Solution for Communication With Deaf Students in the Institutions of Kuwait

Wadhah A. AlKhaldi (Kuwait University, Kuwait) and Muhammad Sarfraz (Kuwait University, Kuwait)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3355-0.ch006


The deaf category represents a significant class at the global level, and it is therefore necessary to pay attention to the provision of prominent educational programs and services to help them achieve self-realization and full integration into society. This study seeks to propose a new translation system for deaf students in faculties, universities, and higher institutes in Kuwait. It can help deaf students to obtain better educational services and improve their communications with their hearing students and teachers in the State of Kuwait. Let us call such a system a video relay service (VRS); it can also be adopted in institutions in other parts of the world. The overall research goal is to propose a new translation system that can help students obtain better educational services and improve their communication with their hearing peers and teachers in the State of Kuwait. This chapter proposes a new translation system for deaf students;, a detailed study and methodology of the targeted research has been explained with all its essential elements.
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No one can deny the critical importance of communication in the life of individuals. It is the main method through which we can convey messages and understand each other. Without communication, there is always a space for misunderstanding and misconception among individuals. Sometimes, people may have certain problems that prevent them from effectively communicating and engaging in the society. Hearing impairments are among these problems. In order to overcome the problem of communication among individuals with hearing impairments, sign languages have been introduced. They can be regarded as important means of communication with people who have hearing impairments. Moreover, they can help in improving the quality of the educational services being provided to deaf students in particular all over the world.

Marschark et al. (2005) explain that over the past several decades, there has been a modification in the face of deaf education. Legislation such as National Law 118/71 in Italy and Ley Orgánica 10/2002 de Calidad de la Educación in Spain has sought to progress equity and access for people with disabilities. In the United States, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities, who are qualified, in any program receiving federal funding, as well as academic institutions. The Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94–142), passed in 1975, guaranteed free and suitable public education for children with disabilities. Largely as a result of such legislation, the amount of deaf students in integrated or “mainstream” classrooms has improved dramatically.

Johar et al. (2014) believe that sign language is a language which uses manual communication and body movements to convey meaning instead of using sound patterns by combining hand movement, body reactions and facial expressions to convey meaning.

Antonakos et al. (2015) assure that around 70 million deaf people worldwide use Sign Languages (SLs) as their native languages to communicate and interact with the surrounding environments. Sign languages have appeared as a strategic solution through which a person can convey messages by the help of the body’s movements and facial expressions. The recent years have witnessed a great focus on how to use computers and electronic tools to develop sign languages to communicate with deaf students in different communities (Parton, 2005).

Microsoft has provided many products and services to ease the process of deaf communication such as TTY/TDD service (Microsoft Corporation, 2013). In addition, Samsung has designed a video call center for deaf individuals that can be accessed through an application installed on mobile phones Technology Usage for Deaf Community. There are also many iCloud services available for deaf people to improve the process of communication (Australian Web Industry Association, 2014). Kaufmann (Kaufmann, 2011) assures that virtualization and virtual environments can play critical roles in improving the process of teaching and learning for deaf students at different educational levels.

A sign language can be processed for translation using cameras or flex sensors (Arif et al., 2016). Sign language translation is considered as essential issue. It has the ability to bridge the communication gap between deaf people and their hearing counterparts as it enables communication without any writing or typing challenges. These translation tools in fact have the ability to improve the quality and speed of the educational process (Baldassarri et al., 2009). The process of sign language translations involves three steps (Martins et al., 2015) represented in recognition as follows: (1) interpretation of all gestures, movements and facial expressions; (2) representation (reflected by avatars or animations); (3) translation (from text/speech to sign language and vice versa).

At the Arab level, we can notice that Arabic Sign Language (ArSL) is limited to two basic classes; nouns/adjectives and verbs. Although there are a lot of attempts that have been made to reach a unified sign language, many of these attempts have not been successful and do not achieve the required level of success (Abdel-Fattah, 2005). This means that the signs used in one language will differ from the other one (Abdo et al., 2015). This in fact has made many researchers believe that the Arabic Sign Language is still under development (Assaleh et al., 2010).

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