Simon Houriez

Ashoka Fellow
France,
Fellow Since 2008
Signes de Sens

IDÉE

Simon Houriez considère les personnes en situation de handicap non comme des dépendants mais comme des éclaireurs pour l’innovation pédagogique grâce à leurs fragilités et stratégies de compensation. Initié auprès des personnes sourdes, ce travail vise tout public éprouvant une difficulté de communication ou d’apprentissage. Avec un processus en 3 étapes (réseau-prototype-valorisation économique), Signe de Sens permet une collaboration entre acteurs du médicosocial, chercheurs et innovateurs et diffuse les résultats à travers des produis pédagogiques innovants. Simon s’appuie sur une logique de conception universelle : toute innovation est née d’un travail avec un public spécifique et s’applique finalement au grand public.

 

IMPACT

Laboratoire de R&D pour le médico-social sur l’apprentissage et la communication, l’organisation est le partenaire privilégié des chercheurs et commercialise ses produits via les acteurs économiques. Plusieurs partenaires stratégiques et prix nationaux et internationaux valident cette posture. L’organisation a lancé Elix, dictionnaire collaboratif en langue des signes avec 4000 visites/ jour, Ben le Koala, personnage accompagnant les enfants dans l’apprentissage des gestes quotidiens dont l’application est téléchargée plus de 50 000 fois et vend 3000 livres et jeux par an. L’organisation accueille 30 structures culturelles régionales dans son cercle culture et handicap, et veut déployer des laboratoires d’innovation pédagogique dans chaque région pour accompagner le médico-social et les publics.

 

QUI EST-IL ?

Simon interrompt ses études universitaires pour “ faire quelque chose de sa vie “ et organise un festival où il rencontre une personne sourde. Il découvre le “ fossé “ culturel et apprend la langue des signes.

 

Citation

This profile was prepared when Simon Houriez was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
To close the education gap between the hearing and the hearing impaired, and to remove prejudice, Simon is transforming the educational experience of deaf children by giving every child the opportunity to learn which meets their specific needs, opens them to the richness of their culture, and allows them to reach their potential. With his organization, Signes de Sens (Signs of Meaning), he is among the first people in France to leverage sign language through various media, creative tools, and cultural offerings, to stimulate early learning, and to promote the development of children’s capacities to understand the world around them. To be accessible to the deaf and hearing communities, his work creates spaces of common experiences for both groups, especially hearing parents and their deaf children. In doing so, Simon is building lasting bridges between both groups that can be crossed by teachers, parents, and educational communities.

To transform these bridges into a fully integrated, equal citizenry, Simon is empowering the deaf community to fully embrace their identity, grow the scope of their knowledge, and attain full access to society’s resources. Understanding the importance of language for one’s identity and worldview, but also the challenges of capturing and sharing sign language over time and space, Simon is creating ways on- and off-line for deaf people to capture the signs they use, enrich their community’s vocabulary, understand the different meanings of words, and reinforce each other’s ability to conceptualize the complex, multi-layered world in which they live. Simon is making sign language the bedrock of deaf people’s citizenship and status as a cultural minority.

Due to Simon’s efforts, the deaf community is progressively building legitimacy in society. As its members acquire more sophisticated and multi-dimensional linguistic capability, they are able to integrate into new professional spheres and express themselves in new cultural settings; offsetting the general perception and bias against their handicap. In addition, Simon is creating educational roles for the hearing impaired and visual tools so that children and adults can learn differently and conceptualize the world in a more integrated way. While Simon’s work is currently focused around the deaf community’s specificities, it will inevitably become a great platform for other groups with learning disabilities.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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