A pátria dos surdos

Translated title of the contribution: The homeland of deaf people

José Afonso Baptista

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



The Homeland of Deaf People aims to identify and describe the most appropriate route for this minority group – within the family, in school and in society. Our strategy consisted in observing deaf communities and deaf people in their own environment and professional context. The true life of deaf communities and deaf people is presented through several narratives painting the portrait of their way of life, their academic levels and their professional careers. In natural communities of deaf people with sign languages as their natural languages, we focused on the conscience of deafness itself and as a reason for inclusion/exclusion; from deaf people, we collected information about academic levels and careers before and after the advent of sign languages. The results demonstrate that deaf people educated in oral languages rarely attain levels beyond primary school, whereas their peers having sign language as their natural language and schools where signing is the teaching and learning language, easily get higher academic levels and have prestigious careers. The emergence of sign languages represents a historical framework signaling the before and the after of the “miracle” that transformed hearing handicapped, unable to speak and communicate, into people perfectly integrated in their community. The natural language of deaf people is sign language, the only accessible in the early years. However, living in a society that is mainly made of hearing people, they need and must learn the language of this majority. Being the written language visual, it is, therefore, accessible to this minority group. Fernando Pessoa stated: “my homeland is the Portuguese Language”. The homeland of deaf people is Sign Language.
Translated title of the contributionThe homeland of deaf people
Original languagePortuguese
Pages (from-to)61-73
Number of pages13
Journal Cadernos de Saúde
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Deaf
  • Education
  • Sign language


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