Today our 4th Classes were really thrilled to welcome Claire to their classrooms as they embarked on an 8 week course in Irish Sign Language (ISL). Claire was born deaf and always communicates using ISL. Today she had a translator, Vanessa, with her so that the children could ask her questions. We had some really interesting questions from the children, like how could you hear a smoke alarm (for the deaf community alarms have a flashing light), how can you listen to the radio (you can’t!! but she can read the news and her family will text if they think there’s something she needs to know), how can you set an alarm to wake you up (vibrating alarm / phone under the pillow) and many others.
We were really interested to learn about how the two deaf schools in Ireland were started in the 1840s and 1850s, and how that developed. ISL is the 3rd official language of Ireland (along with Irish and English) since 2017. This was an important development for the deaf community as it means important news etc must always be provided in a more accessible way for them. For example during Covid there was always a translator signing at the news conferences.
Today we learned how to say hello, how are you, my name is and thank you. We also began to learn the ISL alphabet by starting with spelling out our names. We can’t wait to see what else we will learn in the coming weeks!