A Nice Gesture by Jeroen Arendsen

Various personal interests and public info, gesture, signs, language, social robotics, healthcare, innovation, music, publications, etc.

Signs that Made a Life Worth Living

Deafblind people are not destined to lead a poor excuse for a real, happy life. Apparently, this is something that needs saying, at least in the Netherlands. Anne Baker said it to a doctor just in time to prevent stopping the life support of a deafblind infant.

By www.indianngos.com

In the Netherlands vierhandengebarentaal (four hands sign language) can be used by doofblinden next to NGT or other communication means. I once witnessed the preparations of lessons in this sign language. A group of deafblind people gathered to act as counterparts of hearing students. Obviously they were having a good time, enjoying each others company as a group of friends would. Their communication amongst each other and with the hearing teachers was not without difficulties but then again, so is mine with many people.

You can check some online movies.


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  1. Jeroen Arendsen

    In the world there are many foundations for the deafblind carrying the name of Helen Keller (in Dutch), e.g. in the Netherlands and Belgium.

  2. Ntennis

    Can you elaborate on the story of Anne Baker and the deafblind infant? The link you provided wasn’t working when I checked and google was no help either…



  3. Jeroen Arendsen

    @NTennis: I don’t have your email, (I just saw you as a Wikipedia user?) so here’s my response: I checked the links and they all worked. The story was in a Dutch newspaper though, so I can imagine yu’ll have some difficulties there. The story goes that Anne Baker got talking about sign language to a doctor who gave her a ride. When she mentioned that deafblind children can also learn to communicate with sign language the doctor stopped the car. He called the hospital just in time to prevent the stopping of life support of an infant. The child was born both deaf and blind (from the story I gather completely) and also had a mouth deviation, and was considered not to be able to lead a life worth living (Dutch ‘menswaardig bestaan’). The parents had already agreed to stop the artificial feeding. Knowing about sign language changed that. Now the child lives. Baker then goes on to say that a better dissemination of knowledge on sign language should be included in medical school.

    Does that answer your curiosity? Do you have a specific question?

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