THERE are signs of success all over Abbeyfeale but one very special story belongs to 29-year-old Maria Barrett, a profoundly deaf woman who has started a pilot project sign language course that is about to take in its second wave of students.
“A lot of people had expressed an interest in learning sign language so Maria set up the course,” her mother, Mary – who is also an instructor – explained.
“People like nurses and teachers might have call to use it in their professional life. Last year, we got a great group of people from the locality. They loved learning and now they’re coming back to do level two of the course,” said Mary.
Since it started, the course has been accredited for basic certification and now for Fetac, level 1 for the new course starting in September.
After humble beginnings in the local hall, the course will open again for both levels in the LCETB Abbeyfeale Campus in September.
The mother and daughter team have been joined by a third instructor, Ita Mary Barrett.
And the course, which is free of charge, is now set to turn out sign language users and become the centre of excellence for teaching the language in the wake of Irish Sign Language (ISL) having been officially recognised as a third national language.