Children who are Deaf in Mexico are most often sent to public school. There are no teachers or interpreters there who use Mexican Sign Language. The children are left to languish, virtually untaught, in the classroom with no means to communicate. The San Miguel School for Special Education is changing all that; offering an education in sign language and written Spanish to children who are Deaf. The students' mothers and families also have the opportunity to learn sign language.
There is estimated to be at least 100 children who are Deaf living in and around San Miguel de Allende, many of whom live in rural communities and do not have reasonable access to attend a school using Mexican Sign Language. They live in silence and remain illiterate with few prospects for the future. Deaf children grow into Deaf adults who are often ostracized and discriminated against; they have little opportunity to work outside the home or contribute financially to the household.
Children who are Deaf are referred to EEESMA by local non-profit organizations and by the Department of Social Services (DIF) for the Municipality of San Miguel de Allende. Three new students enrolled this term (2019) alone. Many more need attention. EEESMA provides academic instruction in Mexican Sign Language and written Spanish from pre-school to high school levels. Graduating students receive vocational training and transition planning to learn the skills necessary to eventually be employed.
Educating Deaf children and teaching them and their families to communicate with sign language will help raise awareness, enlighten families and educate their communities about the true abilities of Deaf people. When the Deaf are able to contribute to their families financially, not only will this benefit them and their families but also the community as a whole. With the goal to enroll 50 children at EEESMA, over 500 will be positively affected,