Sign Language Training for Parents and Caregivers
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) is again running basic South African Sign Language training at the Noluthando School for the Deaf in Khayelitsha. The training, over eight weeks, aims to assist parents, guardians and caregivers to communicate more effectively with deaf children. About 18 people participated in the first two-hour training session on Saturday, 17 August 2013.
The training is also intended to raise awareness of the needs of the Deaf community, improve relationships between deaf and hearing people, promote language diversity and foster social tolerance.
Well-known South African Sign Language practitioner Marsanne Selzer will be conducting the training over eight weeks. DCAS is partnering with the Western Cape Education Department and various organisations for the deaf on this project. Selzer said the basic skills that participants are learning will improve communication with deaf children and lead to greater understanding on both sides. “The Deaf culture is very diverse. The training sessions focus on how to approach a deaf person, how to listen with your eyes. With some training, hearing people can enjoy interacting with deaf people,” she said.
Participants had an enjoyable experience with lots of laughter. Mr Elias Nomakhakhayi is participating in the training so that he can understand his eight-year-old son better. “The first session was interesting and I’m looking forward to the others. This training will improve my relationship with my son. He is proud to see me learning his form of language,” he said.
Ms Bianca Meyer of DCAS Language Services said that good communication between parents and children is essential, especially in the early stages of a child’s development. This is a real challenge when parents can hear and their children cannot. These basic South African Sign Language training sessions will help to enhance the quality of communication between parents and their deaf children.
Basic Sign Language training is a clear example of how DCAS and its partners are helping to build relationships between people, better together. Training is offered on Saturdays (from 10:00 – 12:00).