Call for families to learn sign language

International Week of the Deaf celebrations kicks off at Lautoka Special School yesterday. Picture: FELIX CHAUDHARY

EVERY parent and family member of a deaf person should learn sign language.

This was the message shared by Lautoka Special School teacher Rahul Kumaran during the opening of International Week of the Deaf yesterday.

“There are a lot of parents of deaf children who don’t want to learn sign language and don’t want their hearing-impaired children or their siblings learn sign language because they are ashamed,” he said.

“We have to go out into the community and change that mindset.

“We need to go out in the community with a strong message that it is their right to learn sign language because it is the only way that deaf people can communicate.”

Mr Kumaran said there were a lot of challenges faced by deaf children in trying to receive a good education and deaf people were also finding it very difficult to obtain employment because of the perception that they were less able than able-bodied persons.

“I hope the activities that we have this week will shed light on our abilities rather than our disability and that society gives every deaf person an opportunity to prove their worth.”

Mr Kumaran said those wishing to learn sign language should contact the Lautoka Special School.

There are about 500 people living with hearing impairments in the Western Division.

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