Introduction / History
There are approx. 80,000 deaf and hearing impaired individuals in Taiwan. Efforts to communicate the gospel to them are few. At present just a handful of individuals are engaged in evangelism or church planting among Taiwan's deaf. There are three deaf churches. A few other churches also have ministries for the deaf and hearing impaired. Recent years have seen a marked shift in Taiwan's attitudes toward deafness and deaf communication. A well-funded private program intends to provide all eligible deaf children with cochlear implants within the next twenty years.
Parents of deaf and hearing impaired children are inclined to mainstream their children. The population of deaf institutions/schools is increasingly comprised of multiply handicapped children with children who are just deaf often enrolled in regular schools. At all education levels and in all academic institutions, including those for the deaf, Taiwan Sign Language (TSL) is neglected in favor of oral and written communication in Mandarin. The use of TSL is on the decline. There is an ongoing Japanese Sign Language video Bible translation project. However, since Japanese Sign Language is at most 50% lexically similar to one or more dialects of TSL, the translation will not be of use to Taiwan's deaf and hearing impaired communities.
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