Civil servants learn sign language

| 24/07/2017
CNS Local Life

(L-R) Lois Webb gets her ASL certificate from Chief Officer Dorine Whittaker

(CNS Local Life): A group of government workers graduated from a Level 1 American Sign Language (ASL) course given by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) under the Ministry of Community Affairs (CA). The 14 civil servants who graduated from the six-month course on 5 July are those likely to liaise with the hearing impaired including DCFS social workers, court staff, other CA employees and members of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service. A Cayman Brac parent with a hearing-impaired child also graduated.

Taught by Norma Ferryman, the foundation course included the alphabet and fingerspelling, family signs, feelings, professions, verbs and key nouns. By the end of the course students were proficient enough to clearly demonstrate a short story in ASL.

The graduation ceremony, held at George Town Town Hall, comprised a formal introduction as well as a vote of thanks by DCFS Director Felicia Robinson, a presentation of certificates by Chief Officer Dorine Whittaker, an a cappella rendition of the National Song by Annakay and Althea Miller, a gospel song-signing performance by Bouvia Ferguson, and a medley of songs from the ASL graduates.

“This initiative is another aspect of the improvements being made in our child welfare system to reduce barriers and make our services more accessible to all families and, to build awareness around safeguarding children with disabilities,” Robinson said.

“We recognise that deaf children have special communication, language and cultural needs and are equally entitled to protection. Having these specialist skills will enable us to communicate directly with these children and their families and to provide support to them during the child protection and police joint investigation, the family service plan intervention and court proceedings.”

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Category: Civil Service

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