To be able to speak,talk and actually be heard is a gift that many of us often enjoy but faill to adequately appreciate. It is important therefore to some times sit back and examine the lives of those who lack this abilities or are impaired in this regards.Perhaps in doing so we may be moved to appreciate and help those who lack .In this post ,i invite you to look at that gift and how to aid those of us especially the deaf to communicate.Very few of us in this part of Africa hardly know of or have heard of the Canaan Barrie system of communication with the deaf.Well we may have heard of the Kenyan Sign language or the American Sign language ,but the Canaan Barrie system differs to some great extent from other signing languages taught in 'school for blind".
I am gifted in the sense that i married a beautiful lady who can well converse in Sign language at the same time my elder brother is an accredited sign language interpreter both in Kenyan and American sign language.However today i focus on the the "Canaan Barrie system" .So what is it? It is a way of communicating through movement and touch for children with visual impairment and additional support needs . It works mainly through touch with most signs having a specific reference point on the body.
The Canaan Barrie System was devised and developed by a Scottish teacher by the name of Mary Lee, a mother of two visually impaired children who had specific special needs. Mrs Mary Lee has recently been awarded the lifetime achievement prize 2010 at the Scottish Education Awards in Glasgow.Mrs Lee currently teaches at the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh .She has traveled widely in charitable missions and has visited Kenya ,Uganda and Tanzania
The signs involve touching on the body or using hands or movements close to the child. The aim is to work out a vocabulary of movement, gesture and touch that reflects the everyday routines, needs and interests of the child.The adult encourages the understanding of language by communicating in a slower, simpler and clearer way. Since touch is involved a level of trust and confidence must be built for the language to be effective.
The Canaan Barrie signing system is suitable to be used in the family setup or in well regulated school for blind especially in the instance where the persons involved are both deaf and blind. Efforts to assist those who are impaired by circumstances is not only a show of humanity but also noble and this blog applauds such.For now congratulations are in order to Mrs Mary Lee.