This is a bit of a different post, but one that I feel is important. Many of you won’t be aware that this week is Irish Sign Language (ISL) Awareness Week. ISL is unique to Ireland, just like the Irish language is, but few hearing people in Ireland can actually sign. Because of this, the deaf and hearing impaired are one of the most socially isolated groups. If more people could learn something as small as just the letters of the ISL alphabet it would mean that they could communicate anything to deaf people by spelling out words, and help to break down barriers between the deaf and hearing communities in Ireland.
I myself have a deaf aunt, and I can’t use sign language but I do know the ISL alphabet so I can communicate (slowly!) with her and include her in conversations when we visit. It’s very simple to learn, the graphic below shows how to form each letter.
If each of you could manage to learn this alphabet it would be a step on the way to removing the isolation that the deaf community experiences. Even something as simple as learning to spell out your own name so you can introduce yourself!
If you want to go further and learn the likes of colours, months, objects, etc. you can find these resources on the Learn Irish Sign Language website.
Do you have deaf relatives / friends? Can you sign? I’d love to hear some of your stories in the comments.
Thanks for reading!