Sign Language Courses

By Jessica Hetley - Last update

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Signal your future with a course in sign language

Sign language is the method of communication that people who are unable to speak or hear  use in order to talk. There are several different types of sign language, and most countries have their own specialised version that deals with their own spoken language. Sign language is used by interpreters in a professional context, as it allows them to deal with clients that are otherwise unable to communicate.

Qualifying in sign language is extremely useful to anyone who wants to work in a medical or care context. It is also an excellent choice for educators and HR representative who might be required to deal with people who are unable to work without it. The Republic of Ireland uses Irish Sign Language (ISL), although Northern Ireland sometimes uses British Sign Language (BSL) in certain cases.

What is Irish Sign Language?

Irish Sign Language is actually more closely related to the French Sign Language (LSF) than it is to BSL, despite its proximity to the United Kingdom. Thanks to the passing of the Recognition of Irish Sign Language for the Deaf Community Bill 2016, ISL is used in all public services. There are 50,000 native ISG signers, of whom 5,000 are completely deaf.

It uses a system of different hand movements to replace words and letters. ISL was not frequently used until after the 1970s, as it was frowned upon by the church. Like any language, ISL takes practice and dedication to master, but once you have managed this, it is a very rewarding and means of communication.

Sign Language goes back hundreds of years, having been demonstrated as existing throughout much of human history. While the invention of a uniform, codified sign language is much more recent, and although there is still no such thing as a universal sign language, the hard of hearing have always found ways to communicate, both between one another and with the hearing.

Sign languages are distinct from Manually Coded Languages, as they do not have actions with a specific meaning. Makaton, a popular form of sign language, that is intended for people with difficulty communicating, as well as the hard of hearing, is not the same as sign language. Makaton is based on BSL, and so is not immediately translatable to ISL speakers.

What can I do with a qualification in ISL?

Completing a course in ISL will equip you to work in a variety of roles. The most obvious one is working as interpreter for the deaf – interpreter are often in high demand and can command excellent rates of pay.

Many public-sector jobs value ISL speakers highly, as all Irish public services require facilities in ISL to be made available. This means that working in local councils and in government in customer service (or sometimes completely unrelated) roles is also made much easier with a qualification in ISL.

Working in classroom sometimes also requires ISL. Teachers, especially at a junior level, will often find it much easier to find employment with the addition of this qualification. If you are looking to pursue a career as a Special Needs Educator, then you should consider ISL an absolutely essential tool in the classroom.

If you are just looking to learn ISL in order to communicate with relatives and family members who are hard of hearing, then taking a course is a great idea. Whatever the reason that you choose to study Irish Sign Language, it is an exciting and rewarding language, and something that is very different from most other linguistic options!

Jessica Hetley

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  1. tracy healy 18/09/2022 at 22:16

    Hello looking do sign language course .please

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