I became Deaf at a very young age, and I started school in a government Deaf school. I enjoyed the company of other Deaf people, and to me, they were family. I felt more “at-home” at school because I was understood. I could communicate my thoughts and fully express myself.
My family back at home was gracious and supported me in many ways. However, I never felt a full connection because none of them communicated in sign language. I enjoyed life more at school because of my interaction with other Deaf people.
My experience at school wasn’t without its problems, though. The most dreadful part of school was the testing. I always performed very poorly. I rarely understood what was taught in class, let alone the examination. All the school teachers were hearing, and had very little skill in sign language communication. Often, I felt tired and frustrated trying to learn from teachers who didn’t communicate in sign language.
Today, after taking the exams at DOOR, I feel very confident in my ability to learn. I could clearly remember what I had previously been taught. The trainers used very understandable language. I can see that learning in sign language, and in Deaf-appropriate ways, has opened my ability to learn. I feel confident to go and teach the many Deaf people in my community all I have been learning through DOOR’s Leadership Training program.
I think many Deaf people can perform much better in schools and in exams if they understand what is being taught. If teachers would use Kenya Sign Language during testing, many Deaf would pass their exams.