A cleric, Mr. Joel Awele, has enjoined parents and guardians to learn the sign language used by deaf pupils, saying that it will enable them to gain the confidence of their children.
Awele said this on Wednesday at the end of the year programme of the Hope Fountain Schools for the Deaf, Ijaiye-Ojokoro, Lagos.
According to him, pupils feel more relaxed and safe when adults who can communicate with them with sign language are around.
“Parents need to learn the language of these pupils. It will enable them to be friendlier with their children. Parents also need to learn their challenges, especially during puberty. Children, in turn, will not feel like an outcast in the family. What you need to have is the interest,’’ he said.
The proprietor, Mr. Tony Nwokolo, who thanked teachers and parents for their commitment to the school, particularly urged the latter to be more responsive to the needs of their children.
He said, “There is nothing a hearing child can do that a deaf child cannot do. I was in the United States recently and I travelled alone without assistance or entourage. My parents did not neglect me when I had that challenge; that is why I am able to give back to the society. If my parents did not take me to school, they would have deprived thousands of other children who have passed through this school a chance to be great in the future.”
A parent, Mr. Peter Chekani, called on privileged Nigerians to support the school.
He said, “You cannot say you love your child and refuse to pay his or her tuition. We know how difficult it is to feed a family, let alone pay teachers. Do not say, ‘I have not even paid the fees of my other hearing children’, as some people are on the mountain right now begging God to even grant them one child,’’ he said.
At the event, the Director, Virtues School, Abule-Egba, Lagos, Mrs. Olutoyin Omolade, who presented gift and food items to the school, called on Nigerians to remember the physically-challenged ones when giving back to the society.
A sign language interpreter, an English teacher and some pupils entertained guests with drama, cultural dance and choreography during the ceremony.