Sign language gaining popularity with normal people too

A group of people stood at the Rangoli Art Centre near MG Road metro station, trying to communicate without speaking, while their hands moved fast with fingers pointing at various directions within seconds.

The hand gestures (sign language) indicated various words and phrases including 'good morning,' 'sorry,' among others which are used to enhance the communication skills of people with hearing disability.

"We started finger chats (sign language), a year ago and more than thousand people have registered with us," said Vishnu, who coordinates the programme under Enhance India, an NGO that works towards training communities in various aspects.

He added that people approach them asking to teach English in sign language.

Finger chats involve people with both hearing disability as well as those who are able to hear. Vishnu and his team first teach sign language to those who are able to hear after which they start communicating with people with hearing disability.

"We put both people who can hear and those who are disabled and ask them to communicate through the sign language. We also put them in groups that involves activities using charts where people learn the language of the hearing-impaired also," said Vishnu.

He said that when a hearing-impaired person teaches the language, their culture is also imbibed which include certain slang they use, certain aspects of touch used in the sign language.

According to the organisers, the idea for finger chats arose from the observation that there is a need for families to understand their children who have hearing disabilities.

The workshops are conducted during the fourth Sunday and it involves a gathering of the group once a month. A session may have around 50 people taking part to communicate and understand each other. The forum also acts as a platform for making friends.

The workshops are gaining popularity in Bangalore with corporate companies inviting the group to involve their employees in the programme.

Vishnu said they are planning a dance event in December in which people with disabilities will take part. The programme 'Thandav,' which will showcase the talent of specially abled persons, is expecting the participation of more than 2,000 people from Bengaluru.

DH News Service

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