Since the inception of the National Disabilities Unit (NDU) sign language programme for children in 2006, the demand for the course continues to grow.????

That is the word from Social Worker and coordinator of the programme, Stevenson Evelyn, of the NDU.

Stating that many children were showing interest in the sign language courses offered by the NDU, he said students were recognising that "they could use it for more than communication and were, in fact, using it for artistic purposes".??

He was speaking ahead of the end of series presentation, slated for this Friday, July 3, for children who have completed the Introduction to Sign Language and the Introduction to Sign Language Level One courses. They were drawn from 20 primary schools, one secondary school and four community groups. ??????????????????????

For the first half of this year, 342 children completed the sign language programme, while a total of 480 graduated in 2008. In 2007, 337 children participated in the course, while in 2006, there were 149. This brings the total number of children in the island who have benefited from the programme to 1,308.

Mr. Evelyn also revealed that the Unit was reaping much success in achieving its objective, which is to facilitate the integration of persons with disabilities, particularly the deaf and hearing impaired, into all aspects of community living.??

"We are moving towards an integrated society where children of an equal age can be educated in the same environment," he remarked.

Meanwhile, Mr. Evelyn is encouraging parents of children interested in the September sign language programme to contact the NDU at 310-1650 to register.??

Sign language courses for adults will also get under way in September, and they are advised to call the NDU to register, by August 21.

The NDU’s Sign Language Programme for children started in September 2006, while for adults, it began in 2001. It is sponsored in partnership with the Irving Wilson School, the National Union of Public Workers, and the Barbados Workers’ Union.

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