Assistive Technology Tools

Assistive Technology Tools
Assistive Technology Tools South Africa

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

THE FACTS OF DEAFNESS/HEARING IMPAIRMENT/SENSORY IMPAIRMENTS AND DISABILITY




Personswith disabilities include those who have long-term sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Discrimination on the basis of disability means any distinction, exclusion or restriction on the basis of disability which has the purpose or
effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis with others, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the
political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. It includes all forms of discrimination, including denial of reasonable accommodation.

Reasonableaccommodation means necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments not imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others.

The three basic criteria must all be met if a person is to be covered under the SA legislation

A person must have an impairment. An impairment may either be physical or mental or a combination of both. A physical impairment means a partial or total loss of a bodily function or part of the body. It includes sensory impairments such as being deaf, hearing impaired or visually impaired. Secondly, the impairment must also be long-term or recurring. Thirdly, the impairment must be substantially limiting.

In practice deafness may be only a physical characteristic or it can signify both a physical condition with a social/cultural perspective. Hearingimpairment can run the full scale from slight loss to profound. The main characteristic that separates a hearing impaired person/post-lingual deaf person from the pre-lingual deaf person, is whether they relate primarily to the “hearing world” or to the “deaf world”. Persons who relate with the deaf world belong to a community who uses a signed language and the person is considered Deaf. This group does not align itself with the words “impairment” and “disability”.

The freedom of choice and freedom of association with a particular group is promoted by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and is protected by the SA Constitution.

Resources:

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Articles 1 & 2
The SA Constitution/Employment Equity Act/Code of Good practise and Technical Assistance Guidelines on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities – Chapters 5 & 6
The Americans Disability Act – Deafness and hearing impairment under the ADA
SARS – Tax and disability

Department Social Development – Disability Grants

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