BENGALURU: One of the rooms in the Visvesvaraya Technological Museum was brimming with children on Saturday on the occasion of World Disability Day. However, there wasn’t much noise as one would expect with kids. The children were engrossed in conversations but with their tiny hands and expressions on their faces. They weren’t hearing-impaired or speech-impaired, simply they were competing in acing the Indian sign language.
“If kids could learn extra languages like Spanish and French, why not learn sign language, which can help them communicate with their disadvantaged friends or elderly at home with hearing impairment,” asked Mohan Kumar Rajagopal, chairmain of the working group of IEEE , which was organising the competition Sign Bee, much along the lines of Spelling Bee.
Children from Coimbatore, Thiruvananthapram and Bengaluru competed in the event. Generally the burden to use sign language is on the hearing-impaired if they want to communicate with the world. But why can’t the rest of the society do the same to accommodate the hearing-impaired? And children are the best people to start with as they are eager and fast learners.
Besides, sign language is complete in structure and grammar. Every gesture has a meaning. “It is a vibrant language pulsating with life that allows you to express yourself in ways you never thought possible before. Sign Bee aims at popularising the sign language among the common public in breaking the barrier of communication with the hearing-impaired.” Diya Rose, 13, a student of Christ Nagar Higher Secondary School, said that she loves signing.
“Previously, I could not talk to my hearing-impaired friends. Now we bond so well,” she said. What is more surprising is that she learnt signing in just over a month. In the first part of the final, the judges signed to the participants and the children had to write down what the judges were signing. In the second part, the children had to communicate at least 200 words in two minutes. The children were so excited to sign that some of them exceeded time limit. “We want to start Braille Bee next,” said Mohan. Three signs on a poster behind him stood for the letters — I , L and U. Guess the children were successful in conveying that message to the judges, that they love their differently-abled friends.