Kildare and Wicklow ETB Newsletter Issue 11, PARTNERSHIPS - Page 50

In Transition Year we are given many opportunities in school to develop and learn new life skills and students in Coláiste Chill Mhantáin and Coláiste Lorcáin are lucky to have the chance to learn the basics of Irish Sign Language (ISL). In CCM each of the four Transition Year classes take part in an 8-week Irish Sign Language course, taught by Edward Power who is a strong believer of ISL being taught in our schools full time. Edward has taught us the ISL alphabet, numbers 1 through 21, signs for family members, signs for question words and of course the basic sentence structures.

The chance to be taught Irish Sign Language was not taken lightly in Coláiste Chill Mhantáin. This is because unfortunately, Irish Sign Language is not recognised as an official language by the State. Edward Power explained to me his opinion on ISL being taught in schools; “it is not offered as a language choice in schools, which is one thing

I would love to happen, for it to be a choice like French or Irish. Some schools, such as CCM choose to provide students the opportunity to learn ISL, by funding it themselves."

Edward has outlined some interesting points on the Irish Sign Language Bill, which has been

passed by the Seanad this month and will go before the Dáil next. "It asks for Irish Sign Language to be recognised as a language so that Deaf people will have the same rights as Irish citizens, access to state services communicated in a language that we can understand, ISL.” he said.

“As it stands, there are no ISL interpreters in courts, hospitals and other state services so you can imagine the difficulties Deaf people are up against without these in place". By learning ISL in TY we can help fight for more legal rights for ISL users, further our stand on equality and provide a better education for Deaf children in the future by teaching my generation Irish Sign Language.

Transition Year Experiences Within the KWETB

Transition Year Highlights

This article and page design were contributed by Jessica Finnigan, TY3, Coláiste Chill Mhantáin as part of her work experience week with the KWETB magazine production team. Thanks Jessica

For more information on the Irish Sign Language Campaign visit : Irish Sign Language Recognition Campaign - IDS

By Jessica Finnigan, Coláiste Chill Mhantáin