ISSN:
Volume 14, Number 1/2 (2009)
Deaf Children and Health Facilities in South Trinidad
Andrea Jacob-James
This paper illustrates the experiences of rural deaf children as they interact with health facilities in the county of St. Patrick in southern Trinidad. Statistics on the total number of deaf children that exist either in Trinidad or in the county of St. Patrick are not available. Nevertheless a Central Statistical Office (CSO) Report, based on the results of Trinidad and Tobago 2000 Census, reveals that there are a total of 5,319 persons with hearing disabilities in the country. The Marge Report (1984) examined 500 children in Trinidad and Tobago and found that one in six of the children had a disability.

In discussing disability and children, Dr. Bratt, in a newspaper article, stated that "most of these disabled children remain undiagnosed and receive inadequate treatment. Their rights as citizens have been denied, their potential and abilities remain unexplored and their usefulness to society is completely overlooked." He went on to state that as a result, "the lifestyle of the disabled child or adult is often one of frustration, fear, failure and even despair" (Trinidad Guardian, 20 March 2002). The Trinidad and Tobago government, through a multidisciplinary committee, which included representatives from key organizations representing the disabled, developed a draft policy statement on Persons with Disabilities since September 1993 to: eliminate marginalization and discrimination; encourage self-reliance and promote involvement and participation and promote opportunities for a better quality of life for persons with disabilities. This document has not as yet been legalized.