Working towards ensuring the availability of digital resources for hearing impaired school students in Tamil Nadu, Coimbatore-based Deaf Leaders Foundation has made the entire State board curriculum for Classes 5 and 10 available digitally in inclusive formats including sign language.
A website www.thesignclass.org has also been launched for teachers, parents and students to access the same.
“The lack of access to such resources for students who are hearing impaired has been a constant struggle. With a view to provide a holistic and inclusive system for students and resources that they can easily access, we began to work on Sign Class with the support of CBM India Trust,” said K. Murali, Director of the Foundation.
Sign Class has resources for all subjects of the State Board Syllabus for Classes 5 and 10. The video lessons which are a part of these resources have an instructor explaining concepts in sign language, an embedded video showing lip movements, and a voice over which has been synced with subtitles.
“This has been based on the needs of three types of learners — Visual, Kinesthetic and Auditory. The digital resources have been structured in such a way that both children with and without disabilities can make use of them,” Mr. Murali said.
Apart from parents accessing these resources at home and using them to help their children if they have any doubts, Deaf Leaders Foundation has also been calling for deaf schools to use these digital resources in their classrooms.
CSI Higher School for the Hearing Impaired has been their implementing partner for the initiative, and James Albert, the School Principal said that the digital resources have been extremely useful for the students.
“With inclusive education being something we all are working towards, such digital initiatives are extremely helpful. The resources are also in a standardised sign language, which is important for access by all,” said Jacintha Lazarus, Commissioner for the Welfare of Persons with Disabilities. She said that they were keen on both inclusive mainstream schools and special schools making use of these resources, and that the government would lend its support to this initiative.
Stating that this is just the start for them, Mr. Murali said that they were working on developing these holistic and inclusive digital resources for all classes in the coming months. “While the web portal is accessible now, we will also soon be launching an app which students can access,” he said.