DURBAN North resident and Northlands Girls’ High School dramatic arts teacher, Amy Barnard is passionate about youngsters learning South African Sign Language.
Barnard often teaches the learners in her class the sign language alphabet and phrases all in an effort to bridge the gap between the hearing and hearing impaired communities.
Northglen News recently caught up with her to discuss the significance of Talk Sign Day which took place on Friday, 9 March. This year’s theme was ‘Let’s Bridge the Gap’ by adopting Talk Sign at your school or business.
“The Talk Sign campaign is an initiative of the KwaZulu-Natal Blind and Deaf Society and is now in its fifth year. The aim is to ensure that all people in society (school children in particular) become aware of Sign Language, of the plight of deaf people, of the need for deaf people to communicate and to raise money for their cause.
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“I’ve been an ambassador for three years now and because I’m involved with the hearing and the deaf community, I see my job as raising awareness and de-stigmatising how people view the hearing impaired community. I’m passionate and open with my students which I think helps remove any stigmas they may have. My students are so excited to learn more and they are always asking how to sign a certain word which is fantastic,” she said.
Barnard, who is hard of hearing, lost her hearing when she was a toddler due to severe ear infections.
She also expressed her delight about sign language becoming a matric subject by the end of 2018, after an announcement at the State of the Nation address by President Cyril Ramaphosa.