The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on deaf adults, children and their families in Ghana

by Ruth Swanwick, Alexander M. Oppong, Yaw N. Offei, Daniel Fobi, Obed Appau, Joyce Fobi and Faustina Frempomaa Mantey

25 Sep 2020
Journal of the British Academy, volume 8 (2020)
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Number of pages
26 (pp. 141-165)

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Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on deaf adults, children, and their families in Ghana, focusing on issues of inclusion. We ask what it takes to ‘make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’ (United Nations Strategic Development Goal 11) for deaf people in the context of the global pandemic in a low-resource context. The exceptional challenge to inclusion posed by COVID-19 is examined in terms of issues for deaf children and their families, and from the point of view of deaf adults in advocacy and support organisations. The pivotal language and communication issues are shown through a bioecological analysis that illuminates the interdependent dynamics of development and context, and their influence on access to, and understanding of, crucial information. It is argued that the global crisis of COVID-19 exposes and deepens issues of societal exclusion for deaf adults, children, and their families, and provokes wider questions about what inclusion means, and how it can be realised, in different cultural contexts.

Keywords: Ghana, deaf children, COVID-19, deaf adults, families of deaf children, inclusion.

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