Introduction / History Paraguayan Deaf people are located throughout the country of Paraguay, with most concentrated in the capital city of Asunción and the second largest city, Ciudad del Este. Very few Deaf people live in the Chaco region of northern Paraguay. Deaf population estimates vary, but a local Deaf association indicated that there are approximately 15 thousand signing Deaf people in Paraguay.
There are seven Deaf schools, only two of which offer secondary educa-tion. Paraguayan Deaf education has traditionally used oral communication where students learn speech and lip-reading instead of sign language, but has recently begun to incorporate more sign language into classrooms. Some Deaf students are integrated into special education or regular hearing classrooms with or without interpreters.
Deaf Paraguayans typically gather at Deaf associations or religious meet-ings where their indigenous sign language, Lengua de Señas del Paraguay (LSPY), is used. There are seven Deaf associations located throughout Para-guay. Five signed religious services are available in the country, all in Asunción. Because Deaf Paraguayans indicate that they struggle accessing written Spanish materials, a translation team was formed in 2008 through Letra Paraguay to begin translating Scripture into LSPY.
Most Paraguayan Deaf people typically work in manual labor jobs and receive lower than minimum wage. They are struggling for equality with hearing society and identify with each other as a unique Deaf Paraguayan culture. They indicate that their greatest community development needs include better and increased availability of interpreters, official recognition of LSPY and use of LSPY materials in Paraguay, and better educational and employment opportunities.