Sign Language Workshop A Hit At Paarl Hospital
Increasing awareness around South African Sign Language and giving front line staff at the Paarl Hospital the skills to communicate with the Deaf community in Paarl was the aim of a South African Sign Language (SASL) workshop which was held at Paarl Hospital on 24 November 2016. The workshop was presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, in partnership with the Deaf Community of Cape Town (DCCT).
The workshop was presented after Paarl Hospital staff expressed the need to be able to communicate with the increasing number of Deaf clients who visit the hospital. Staff members who attended the workshop were from various units within the hospital, such as administration clerks, nurses and physiotherapists.
Xolisa Tshongolo, Acting Deputy Director of DCAS Language Services, said that the department aims to increase awareness around SASL throughout the various departments within the Western Cape. “We hope after this workshop that staff will know the basics of South African Sign Language, and be comfortable with dealing and communicating with Deaf patients.” he said.
Ian Arendse, Deputy Director of Human Resources and Facility Management, thanked DCAS for its assistance with their request. “I know that at the end of today’s session, the staff attending will be better equipped to communicate with our Deaf clients, and have a better understanding and be able to assist our community effectively,” said Arendse.
DCCT presented a play, which helped staff to understand the difficulties sometimes faced by Deaf clients on an everyday basis. They also shared personal experiences of how not being able to communicate with medical staff negatively impacted on their hospital experiences.
Paarl Hospital staff were taught the basics of SASL, as well as a few often-used terms and phrases that will greatly assist them to make visiting the hospital a better experience for their Deaf clients. The staff were also given some insight into how to interact with Deaf clients. They, for instance, were made aware of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to lip reading and the difference between hearing and Deaf cultures.
Through responding to requests and presenting workshops such as this, DCAS aims to provide guidance on how to improve services to the Deaf community, BETTER TOGETHER.