Saturday, March 6, 2021

School for parents of speech and hearing impaired children opens

Special education units across all training institutions prepare teachers and care givers to adequately deal with learners of diverse disabilities. This promotes an equal platform for students, especially the disabled, to be able to get a fair treatment with regards to the acquisition of basic education. However, what happens then, when school closes for holidays and the child has to go home to a family with very little or no understanding of their disabilities? It is highly likely that the end result would be cold, isolated, and distant relationships because family members do not understand each other as a result of lack of communication.

However, Olebogeng Keipheditse who also suffered from speech and hearing impairments found a means of bridging that gap between family members by setting up the Olebogeng Tutoring School offering sign language lessons to people with no impairments. The 30-year-old from Mahalapye, trained in Sign Language Methodology at various institutions such as Wits University, University of Botswana and more so, set up this institution through assistance from the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture.

Located in the Bontleng mall, the school offers levels one to three and each is an eight week course which empowers one to be able to communicate effectively with their family members. Through Kealeboga Metlhaleng, Keipheditse was able to explain that the school began operating in January 2015 and that he has hopes and dreams to expand the institution to a national and international project which is not confined to the borders of Gaborone. 

Keipheditse also stated that his primary target was to help families with members with speech and hearing impairments so that they communicate better. He says his biggest challenge are the very people he is targeting because they are yet to realise the importance of communication between them and their family members. He says they are not keen on learning and they do not even know where the school is.

Keipheditse further explained that he was born with functioning speech and hearing, but later developed an illness, leaving him with no sense of hearing or speech at the tender age of five. This did not deter him from his mission as his profile indicates that he excelled with high grades during his school years, eventually setting up his own facility hoping to help people like him communicate better with their family members.

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