With nimble fingers and expressive faces, two confident young women are fluent in explaining the importance of International Sign Language Day, which falls on September 23. Their explanation is entirely in Indian Sign Language (ISL) and the two women, Lekshmy R and Parvathy R, The Art Teachers of the Center for Research and Education on Autism and the Rehabilitation of Other People with Disabilities (CADDRE) explain why ISL is a mark of their identity as hearing impaired people. Closed captions and a voiceover help them reach those who don’t understand ISL.
Produced by CADRRE, the video is part of a series of YouTube tutorials on ISL for parents of children with communication challenges and anyone interested in learning another language.
“During this time, when our students are at home, we thought it would be a good time to contact parents of children with communication problems with videos on ISL. At some point, they can also use them to teach their children. This is how these videos were conceptualized. We hope to upload five videos in one week, ”says Renuka Remesan, CADDRE technical advisor.
After years of working with the hearing impaired, Renuka is the mentor to those who teach and perform ISL. She says ethically there is a line of thinking that sign language is best taught by hearing-impaired and speaking people themselves, as it is their “natural language”, medium and brand. of their identity. Thus, hearing-impaired twins Lekshmy and Parvathy were associated with the project to raise awareness of the importance of ISL.
The signature may also be effective for people with autism because of the repetition of the sign in the same visual location, allowing them to process and validate the sign and its meaning as well as speech in long-term memory, a statement from CADRRE said. .
“And those who wish can also learn the language to converse with those who have communication problems. My son, Saarang A, for example, learned the language from YouTube tutorials. I observed that all of these videos were made by people whose mother tongue was not sign language. That’s when I thought of similar videos of Lekshmy and Parvathy fluent in ISL, ”says Malini Unnithan, Center Coordinator, Head, CADRRE.
In a WhatsApp message, Lekshmy says they first learned American Sign Language at Gallaudet University in Washington DC. “We started learning ISL recently and we are both very happy to speak in sign language. My son understands sign language a bit, ”she says on WhatsApp.
Each video tutorial contains 10 words expressed in ISL and each word is viewed by Mohit and Dhanush, five year old sons of Lekshmy and Parvathy.
Parvathy adds that her son can lip read, so communication hasn’t been difficult at all.
The first of the videos aired on CADRRE’s YouTube channel on September 23. With subtitles and audio and visual cues, the videos are easy to understand. The screenplay is by Renuka and the voiceover is by her and Lekshmi Nair, CADRRE’s senior advisor. The assembly was carried out by Radhika SB, responsible for communications at the Center.