Tuesday, 7 February 2017

New ISL Driving theory test for deaf.

Eilish Kilgallon, Community Access Worker for Deaf People; Alison Rooney, Team Leader, Sensory Disability Team and Pat McAteer, Head of Specialist Services, Southern Health and Social Care Trust, with service users Michelle Rice, Robert Boyd and Deirdre Smith.
A new Northern Ireland sign language version of the Driving Theory Test practice questions has been developed by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust. The Southern Health and Social Care Trust supports around 300 profoundly deaf people who use sign language as their main form of communication. 

Michelle Rice, who has used the new driving theory test practice questions for deaf people. Communication is the most significant barrier for deaf people, as Eilish Kilgallon, Community Access Officer for Deaf People at the Southern Trust explains: “As sign language does not follow the same format or include the range of vocabulary as English grammar, deaf people can have great difficulty in terms of academic achievement, employability and overall social inclusion. 

“Although they tend to have excellent concentration and no problem passing the practical driving test, because the theory exam is in normal English, the pass rate for deaf people is very low.” Pat McAteer, Specialist Services Manager for the Trust adds: “We developed this new signed version of the theory test practice questions to give deaf people a better understanding of what is being asked and offer them a fairer chance of passing the test. 

This new test has been widely welcomed by our service user advisory group and local deaf clubs and we hope it helps many more deaf people to enjoy the independence of being able to drive.” The video has been produced with a local translator specifically using Northern Ireland sign language. 

It is available on a DVD or on a USB pen by contacting Eilish Kilgallon, Community Access Officer for Deaf People. Email: eilish.kilgallon@southerntrust.hscni.net or Telephone: 028 3839 4088.