Good news for those learning Irish Sign Language (ISL) with the launch of a new mobile website aimed at teaching the language. The system, ‘ISL Everywhere’, is designed to help children expand their vocabulary and improve their communication skills.
The website is free of charge and is suitable for smartphones, allowing parents to easily gain access to the words they need to carry out everyday tasks with their children. It includes more than 1,000 signs and phrases that concentrate on the everyday vocabulary used by young children and in daily routines such as bedtime, visits to the doctor and special occasions including birthdays and Christmas.
The Irish Times writes that “the resource was the brainchild of the Sharing the Journey volunteer organisation, an independent parent-to-parent group that was set up to support parents of deaf and hard of hearing children, in collaboration with the Irish Deaf Society and the Centre for Deaf Studies, Trinity College Dublin.”
WebElevate, a digital technology, content and game development programme for graduate jobseekers, became involved when Sharing the Journey was looking for help in developing the resource. Co-founder of the support group Teresa McDonnell said the website would expand opportunities for deaf and hard of hearing children to become more involved with the world around them.
“For most families their deaf baby is the first deaf person that they have ever met. Learning ISL can be challenging not only for parents, but for siblings and relatives as well,” said Ms McDonnell.
“ISL Everywhere will be a fantastic support for everyone learning ISL. Families, neighbours, pre-school teachers and other significant people in a child’s life can now access good quality, accurate signs when and where they need them.”
Discussing ISL, John Mangan, CEO of the Irish Deaf Society said: “Irish Sign Language is a unique language, native to Ireland and is not just about the movements of the hands but also involves body movement, facial expressions and using the space around you to convey what you are saying. ISL Everywhere is an excellent resource and I look forward to seeing it grow from strength to strength.”
The mobile website http://sharingthejourney.ie/mobile/ includes:
- Over 1,000 signs and phrases, focusing on the everyday vocabulary of a young child’s life
- A word association feature
- Vocabulary needed for daily routines (eg bedtime and bath-time, doctor’s appointment)
- Bedtime stories
- Printable resource materials
- Rainy day activities
Anybody who might be concerned about their hearing, can avail of a free hearing test at any Hidden Hearing branch nationwide. You can book a hearing test free of charge at any of Hidden Hearing’s 60 clinics nationwide. Freephone 1800 370 000 or visit www.hiddenhearing.ie.