Wednesday 21 August, 2019

Staff at telecommunications retail outlets begin sign language classes

Sign language alphabet courtesy StartASL.com.

Sign language alphabet courtesy StartASL.com.

The Disability Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services recently began a sign language workshop for frontline staff of some of this country’s leading telecommunication retail outlets.

On July 30th, representatives of the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT), Bmobile and Digicel, began the first of a nine-week training workshop designed to equip staff with general knowledge, competencies and attitudes for engaging those who are deaf or hard of hearing. The training is co-facilitated with the UWI Open Campus at the MSDFS in Port-of-Spain.

The workshop seeks to complement TATT’s July launch of its Universal Service Initiative for Persons with Disabilities. Through this initiative, TATT will subsidise the cost of assistive mobile devices for citizens who may be hard of hearing, deaf or visually impaired.

According to Director of the Ministry’s Disability Affairs Unit, Sharon Rogers, most persons who are mute, deaf or hard of hearing cannot afford to pay for the services of an interpreter and depend on the availability and willingness of a family member or close friend, which may prove to be a hassle or an inconvenience. Therefore, the acquisition of assistive mobile devices will greatly contribute to the independence and dignity of persons with visual and hearing impairments.

As part of the workshop, participants will also engage in a practical component, intended to further sensitize them about some of the daily challenges that persons with disabilities encounter when attempting to access information, goods or services. This is in keeping with the Ministry’s mandate to build a more inclusive and resilient society for all citizens. It is also hoped that the practical component will inspire positive change in the values and attitudes towards the community of persons with disabilities.

Participants who successfully satisfy the mandatory requirements of the UWI Open Campus will be awarded certificates at the end of the nine weeks. They will also have the option to continue the course of study at the University’s main campus.

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