Introduction / History The majority of deaf Hondurans say they had no language until the 1980's when the National Deaf Association and deaf ministries were established. It was at that time when their language started developing as they became a community distinct from the hearing community. American Sign Language is said to be the language they used until the development of Honduran Sign Language (LESHO). There are three major cities where deaf people congregate: Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula, and La Ceiba. Many deaf people living in rural areas are isolated and use only gestures and home signs the family has created for necessary communication.
Interpreters are one of the greatest needs among the deaf Honduran community. They need access to important information and reliable education that will allow them to become more independent. Sign Language publications are needed to continue their language development, to offer sign language classes to both hearing and deaf Hondurans, and to use as student manuals in the school system. Deaf Hondurans also want to have Spanish literacy programs. Families of deaf children need access to information about deafness and how they can best help their deaf children.
Typically deaf Hondurans are unaware of their family's belief system. Many families of deaf Hondurans do not know LESHO and therefore are unable to share the gospel clearly. Though deaf Hondurans may grow up attending mass or other church services they may not clearly understand what is being taught until they attend a service taught in LESHO. Churches with deaf pastors grow rapidly as deaf people learn about God's love through a language they clearly understand, Honduran Sign Language.