Communication is an important factor in the rehabilitation, and educational programs for the hearing and sight impaired. The sight impaired can speak but cannot read and write in the same way as the sighted. The hearing impaired, because they cannot hear, finds it difficult to speak.
The problem of communication has been overcome to a certain extent with Braille for the sight impaired and Sign language for the hearing impaired.
The services of the Audiology Centre situated at the School for the Deaf are made available to the hearing impaired. This service is made use of by ENT surgeons for diagnostic purposes. Patients are referred daily to the clinic on weekdays by ENT surgeons, General practitioners, Medical Clinics etc. A very reasonable fee is charged from the patients.
Braille, a tactile language in which people read with their fingers, uses a combination of six raised dots to represent the alphabet, numerals and other signs. This system has been adapted for both Sinhala and Tamil, the two vernacular languages. All the visually impaired students use Braille for written communication.
Sign language is the natural language used by the hearing impaired to communicate. Sign Language consists of a variety of signals given by either one or both hands and/or body movements to express words, ideas and feelings. Although there are regional variations, sign language can be understood by the hearing impaired all over the world.
Sign language has it's limitations; it cannot be used to communicate with the general public or to understand text based information. For this reason the hearing impaired are taught to read and write one of the National Languages, Sinhala or Tamil, even though they cannot speak it coherently.