Survey on actual situation of access architecture for Deaf & Hearing impaired in Hanoi

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Implementer: VSSE

Date: 16/04/2017

1. Place

Hanoi Deaf Association, during the kick-off event of Inclusion project – Phase II 2017: Deaf & Hearing Impaired

2. Scale

A survey of open questions on 100 people

3. Participants

  • Deaf & hearing impaired member of Hanoi Deaf Association
  • Members of Inclusion project
  • A teacher of Nhan Chinh Deaf school
  • An architect of Thinks Playground project
  • Teachers of National College for Education
  • Students of National College for Education

4. Survey questions

a. General questions for all participants

What are the difficulties confronted by Deaf & Hearing impaired at schools, educational centers, residential & public buildings?

b. Additional questions for Deaf & Hearing impaired

  • Do you find yourself comfortable with seat arrangement in educational centers you have learnt?
  • Do you have any difficulty or danger in communicating with friends while walking on streets?
  • Any difficulty when there are guests or natural disasters?
  • List out areas where Deaf & Hearing impaired usually gather? Why do they choose such places?
  • What does the world have to support Deaf & Hearing impaired but Vietnam does not?
  • How do you understand the terms: Architecture, Architect, Building, Access?

c. Additional questions for the architect and the teacher of Nhan Chinh Deaf school

  • Can you share your portrayal of deaf & hearing impaired people before attending the event today? After interacting with them, have you changed your thoughts?
  • As regards Architecture, what is the meaning of inclusion for the deaf & impaired?

5. Summary results

  • Deaf & Hearing impaired have certain special needs for access architecture, especially regarding education buildings. However, due to language barrier and lack of access to information sources, deaf & hearing impaired students in Vietnam are not aware of their right to voice themselves and improve access architecture.
  • Deaf & Hearing impaired have little knowledge about architecture, mistake about several terms and have difficulty exchanging information about this field due to the shortage of available sign vocabulary
  • The government has passed legal grounds for the disabled but implementation has been limited -> Need simultaneous impact from multiple sides. For example, architects need to apply standards for access architecture to real practice to realize disabled people’s rights

6. Summary of survey answers

a. Deaf & Hearing impaired

  • Confused between the terms “Construction“ and “Architecture”. Not knowing Architecture includes Construction.
  • There is no sign vocabulary for architectural terms like “building ”, “construction“ (there is sign language for “build“ but not for “construction“), “technical drawing”, “technical standard”…
  • Basically, architect is understood as who designs and draws the design for buildings.
  • Aware of the difference between design drawing and actual result
  • Able to give specific examples for constructions like schools, hospitals, etc but not general description like “construction is the final work of an architect, either as big as schools and hospitals or just as small as bus stops and serving various groups of people …” (description by the architect guest)
  • Giving questions about reconstructing degraded or ruined buildings and about architecture in areas vulnerable to disasters.
  • As regards the term « Access», only able to give particular examples for physical or visual disability, not aware of the needs of architecture access for Deaf & Hearing impaired. However when asked about specific cases, they were still able to give examples for it.
  • Asked about the meaning of « Access for Deaf & Hearing impaired », specifically regarding:

+ Sign language interpretation for Deaf & Hearing impaired;

+ Communication methods using paper, pens & mobile phones

+ LED signs in places like bus stops, buses, airports to recognise stops;

+ Signs using sign language in public places

+ Deaf and illiteral people should receive help with preparing visual information about destinations before travelling

+ Deaf & hearing impaired people have full access: available interpreters, equality, driving license, job opportunity, visual mobile service for distant interpretation support, deaf architect network, etc. In USA, deaf people can even become pilots & soldiers… In Vietnam, most deaf people only finish lower secondary education and stop learning higher, partly because current unsuitable, inaccessible educational methods.

  • Particular needs of architecture access for Deaf & Hearing impaired:

+ The deaf cannot hear bells so lights should be installed in every room. Cameras can also be used, yet very expensive.

+ In rooms, especially private rooms, there should be switches both inside and outside the room as a tool for calling/informing « I’m here », « I need to use the toilet », « Open the door »…

+ Safety matter in case of burglary. The need of using camera

+ Alarm device when asleep in private rooms

+ Seat arrangement in normal classroom restricts student’s sight range. U shaped arrangement is more suitable for deaf culture

+ Deaf people may be in danger if talking while walking on streets as pavements in Vietnam are often narrow and lack of visual support (mirror…). Pavements are often invaded, sometimes vehicles can even go onto them whereas the deaf need space for communication. Moreover, when they are talking, they may not be alert of obstacles or dangers on streets.

+ Regarding places for gathering or entertainment, deaf people need wide, airy space to serve sign language communication. In cafes or other meeting places, chairs & tables should be low,  easy to move and avoid hidden corners.

b. Deaf & Hearing impaired school

  • Hearing impaired people need insulation solutions and silent places to concentrate on learrning to listen and speak
  • Equality for deaf people has not been achieved due to language barriers. If sign language is socialized like English, the deaf can be better integrated
  • The deaf need better inclusive conditions to access various jobs, to learn and pursue better career. Either profession learning or higher edution is equally good depending on people’s different abilities.
  • The deaf should be more confident in their personal ability and self-development

c. Architect

  • In Vietnam, access architecture for the disabled in general and Deaf & Hearing impaired in particular is hard to develop because even common architecture for road users like roadside can be deprived. Infrastructure of the country also requires long time to improve & develop.
  • There have been no Vietnamese deaf engineer or architect so Deaf & Hearing impaired should try to develop themselves, to express themselves in the society with the support from related organizations like VSSE, Thinks Playground… Basically, Deaf & Hearing impaired are completely and equally capable if given the right access methods.
  • In France, disabled people are seen everywhere while it is the opposite in Vietnam due to unsuitable infrastructure.
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