There are few opportunities for families to learn South African Sign Language (SASL), yet it is essential that they do so that they can begin communicating with their deaf child.
Have you made any new friends? Did you enjoy your breakfast? Please check with me first before you talk to any strangers. You are important to me and I love you –most of us take it for granted that we are able to connect with our children using simple phrases like these. For a parent of a deaf child, just an exchange of one or two words feels like a victory.
There is great need in South Africa for parents to be given opportunities to acquire SASL. Thrive has developed a programme that is currently delivered as workshops in schools for the deaf and audiology units in South Africa, these are aimed at facilitating the teaching of South African Sign language to parents of deaf children, enabling them to communicate and bond with their children. The tuition is given by deaf adults which is empowering for parents to see –meeting a successful deaf adult helps parents to move to a state of acceptance.
We call these our Connect Groups where parents and family members feel a deep encouragement as they learn alongside one another.