Little heroes help break down barriers
PARENTS of deaf children yesterday complained that the problem was "almost a hidden disability" in Irish society.
The comments were made as a 'hero' award to recognise contributions from deaf and hard of hearing communities was launched yesterday.
Jimmy Geraghty, father of Noel Geraghty (8) from Navan, Co Meath, who attends St Joseph's School for Deaf Boys in Cabra, Dublin, said the deaf in Ireland faced barriers.
"We need a lot more awareness especially in relation to sign language interpreters, access for the deaf community. People seem to know more about other disabilities in Ireland but always seem to forget about the deaf community," said Mr Geraghty, whose son donned a Batman costume . "It is almost like we are a hidden disability, of sorts."
There are around 5,000 Irish Sign Language users in the country, with the majority members of the Irish Deaf Society (IDS).
Mr Geraghty, who is treasurer of the IDS, said for Noel at least, there were special needs assistants and his son could communicate in sign language at his school. "It makes life a lot easier for him."
IDS chair Kevin Mulqueen said the society had recently set up a charity shop to raise more money to fund literacy and advocacy services.
The Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards, which will be presented by RTE's Derek Mooney, will honour those who have made a significant contribution to their community, workplace, family or sports. See www.hiddenhearing.ie and www.deaf.ie