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Getting a message across to someone who cannot speak and hear is a task too difficult for people in the hearing world who don't know how to sign. Sign language is unique in that it uses a mix of gestures and body language for people to converse. It is a useful tool when dealing with the deaf and the hearing impaired, during emergencies and even when conducting business.
Sign language varies from country to country although many countries adopt the American Sign Language (ASL) form. The reasons for learning such also differ from person to person. While others simply want to add it to their bucket list, some consider it a venue that opens up a host of career possibilities in the fields of interpreting, education, recreation, medicine and the government.
Although not popular in the UAE, one educational institute here offers sign language classes to cater to those who are keen on understanding its nuances and applications. The school, which has branches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, holds the basics of ASL on a private, semi-private and group instruction basis for a duration of 20 hours, which can be extended based on the student's needs. The course is open to both adults and kids, and fees can run from over Dh2,000 to over Dh4,000.
A huge organization of volunteers based in Dubai also conducts regular ASL classes for its members for free. Just months ago, a traveling campaign that made stops in four emirates introduced hundreds of participants to the beauty of signing. And for those who wish to learn the language at their own pace, the Internet is a veritable resource to run to anytime.
• Sign language varies from one country to another
• Course fees in UAE range from Dh2,000-Dh4,000
• Various sign language courses also available online
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Source: Ellen Joyce Soriano, Special to Classifieds
The writer is a freelancer