Studying in sign language

Patricia Resl did what many others have not been able to do. She studied social work and, deaf herself, works to help other deaf people as a consultant and trainer.

Patricia Resl

Hearing-impaired and deaf people are disadvantaged in every field of education. For to this day, the school system still suffers major shortcomings for the hearing impaired with education being oriented predominantly towards the spoken language. Many are left behind with this form of knowledge transfer and have to be content with a lower secondary education, even though they are just as capable as those who can hear. “There are no interpreters. The orally oriented education is tedious and time-consuming, which ultimately affects the education of the hearing impaired, usually negatively,” says Patricia Resl, a graduate of the bachelor degree program Social Work at FH Campus Vienna. 

With High Personal Commitment

Patricia Resl is a trainer and social counselor at equalizent, a qualification center for deafness, hearing impairment, sign language and diversity management in Vienna. She has worked as a trainer and consultant for many years, gained professional experience in Johannesburg/South Africa and Cochabamba/Bolivia, was an actress in theater productions and swimming director of the Vienna Deaf Sports Club “WGSC 1901” for seven years. For her, inclusion is a “nice word”, but it is difficult in reality because there are hardly any opportunities for the deaf. “The high interpreting costs are a problem. In addition, many children wear cochlear implants. They no longer learn sign language, which in turn makes communication with sign language speakers more difficult. I cannot think of a practical solution at the moment.” 

Sign Language Recognized in Austria as an Independent Language Since 2005

Of the approximately 450,000 people in Austria who have challenges communicating with others due to hearing impairments, 8,000 to 10,000 of them are deaf. Several thousand more have extreme difficulty communicating despite hearing aids and they also use the Austrian Sign Language, summarizes the Austrian Sign Language Interpreting and Translator Association “ÖGSDV” on its website. Removing barriers for the deaf is important to Patricia Resl. “Just talking with us normally, either by writing on paper or typing in the phone. And avoiding the question, ‘can you hear me?’ or asking you to read their lips.”