Should Sign Language Be Part Of The Curriculum In Schools?
This is unusual from me but it's been niggling in the back of my head for just over a year. Should sign language be taught in schools here in Ireland? And my answer is simply, yes. Why not?
I have a daughter with a speech delay and she has self-thought us her own sign language and I think it's amazing - in a way. Obviously, I would like her to talk more and be at the level of kids her age but it's not happening right now and that's okay. We are working on it. She's on a waiting list publicly and we've set a date to go private if we haven't heard anything. We have had her hearing checked privately and have had her referred to the ENT just in case. We've also received numerous pieces of advice from parents who've been through it, I've chatted with speech and language therapists and I also spend any free time googling ways I can help bring on her speech. She will get there, it might take a year or two but I know it will happen so I'm not overly worried.
This brings me to older kids, non-verbal children, children who struggle to communicate with words and children who are deaf. I did a sign language course over three years ago now with Superhands with my then wobbler and I couldn't credit it enough at the time. Weeks after we finished my daughter who attended the class alongside us spotted a young girl around the same age as her signing with her mother. She then out of the blue waved to the little girl and signed 'how are you?'. I was speechless. The little girl looked up to her mum and I could see her mum well up. The little girl was ecstatic. She smiled from ear to ear and signed back. Now, at this point, we hadn't a clue what she was saying but it was just a lovely moment. My little girl who was just five at the time made another little girls day.
For children with special needs it can be there only means of communication and in some cases, it can lead to vocal language.
I believe deaf people should be given the same opportunities as hearing people. Many miss out on employment opportunities and for others, it can be lonely with no means of communication.
As a mother of four, I hate to see any child left out for whatever reason and that includes communicating with others. I've introduced sign language into my home and I can see plenty of room for it to be introduced in schools across the country. Communication and equality for all. It would take ten minutes a day and if we want to get technical it's great for gross and fine motor skills.
Do you think there is room for sign language on the curriculum here in Ireland? Or maybe your school already does it? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Written by Kellie Kearney staff writer at Family Friendly HQ who also blogs at www.mylittlebabog.com.