Top of page

Children with disabilities taught sign language in Latvia

kid with down sydrome happy

Children with autism, Down’s syndrome and other developmental disorders have begun acquiring sign language, which allows nonverbal or minimally verbal children to communicate more effectively with their families, reported Latvian Television on July 6. The Latvian Portage Association offers sign language teaching services as part of their early correction program.

Within three months, Mārcis has acquired sign language and is able to sign mother, father and indicate what he desires to eat for lunch. “We wouldn’t understand what he’s saying, and he’d get angry. Now we’ve started understanding what he wants. And he’s more serene now. He asks for what he wants – bread, meat, sausage. We know what to offer him,” said Mārcis’ father Ivars.

30 families in Rīga and Liepāja are learning to sign as part of the European project. “Parents are as much involved in the process as their children, as we can’t teach a child to sign without teaching his parents,” said Ineta Kursiete, head of the Latvian Portage Association.

Funds have been allocated to bring in visual materials and learning programs from Germany and the UK. An eye-controlled computer is on the way from the US.

A child without communication skills is left outside of his family, outside his peers, and can’t say much of anything,” said Kursiete.

Every child has an individual plan created for him or her, and the weekly lessons progress in steps which respect every child’s individual priorities. At present, the Latvian Portage Association offers its framework of support for EU Funds. The association hopes, however, that the educational service will be included in the services covered by the municipality.

“We’d like to continue this endeavour. Not to exhaust the EU funds, bring the project to an end and cease providing our services. We have addressed the Welfare Department of the Riga City Council. We’ve spoken about contracts we could enter into once the project comes to an end, and the social services could buy this program,” said Kursiete.

Source: Latvian Public Broadcasting

You might also like

Sign Language Sign Language

How AI can help map sign languages

Like spoken languages, sign languages evolve organically and do not…

woman in electronic wheelchair geeting out from the building woman in electronic wheelchair geeting out from the building

Spain’s San Cristóbal wins EU Access City Award 2024 for accessibility

The Spanish city of San Cristóbal de La Laguna has won the…

man in a wheelchair at a pedestrian crossing man in a wheelchair at a pedestrian crossing

EU Commission to introduce Disability and Parking Card

The European Commission delivered a legislative proposal that will facilitate access to…

Sign language man interpreter Sign language man interpreter

Culture Ministry asks TV broadcasters to provide sign language interpretation

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Culture and Youth asked all…