Published: 08th September 2017
Spend one day in this park at the CSI School for the Deaf, and you'll know how easy it is to communicate with a deaf child
The park created by a group of students from Sathyabhama University intends to establish stronger bonds between the children and the public
There are no words exchanged in this beautiful park, but the love that is shared here transcends words itself. In the far right corner, M Aphrose Sabala and her friend D Prithika swing high with their eyes closed, completely oblivious to everything around them. Just next to them, a group of hyperactive boys proudly demonstrate their monkey bar skills. It’s been just a few minutes here at the CSI School for the Deaf and my apprehensions about how I would talk to these kids, vanish. They seem to understand me and I them, just fine.
“Well, that’s exactly what we’re trying to create awareness about through this park,” says James Albert, the headmaster of the school, adding, “We’re trying to tell people that it’s not that difficult to communicate with our children, all you need to do is spend a little time.”
Jolly ride: The kids love playing in the park and meeting new people
A few months ago, Vetri Selvan and six other students from Sathyabama University decided to create a park for the school. It was part of a project by the National Association of Students of Architecture, where they were required to build something in an abandoned space. “We selected the CSI school ground because it was completely abandoned. We built the park from scratch and most of the materials used were recycled. We wanted to show people that it doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s life,” says Vetri.
“Our kids are usually shy and nervous about interacting with the outside world. They think that no one will be able to understand them. Most people are usually uncomfortable because they don’t know how to talk to them. The truth is that they won’t know until they try. Our kids are very smart. They know how to lip read and interpret signs. All they need is a little social interaction to boost their confidence,” says James. And that’s the whole idea behind the park, says Vetri, adding, “We wanted to create a space where the kids can interact with other people. Every day around 4 pm, people (usually elderly couples) sit in the park and play with the kids as they enjoy spending time with them.”
Most people are usually uncomfortable because they don’t know how to talk to them. The truth is that they won’t know until they try. Our kids are very smart. They know how to lip read and interpret signs. All they need is a little social interaction to boost their confidence.
James Albert, Headmaster
The CSI School for the Deaf is now 105 years old with about 260 children. Apart from the regular classes, the children are also provided vocational training in order to equip them with skills to interact with people in their workplaces. “Many of our alumni are working now. They are happy and proud of the positions they are in and the independent lives they are leading,” says James.
As I leave the park, the children wave their thumbs, while shaking their heads in a manner of questioning, and I perfectly understand. They’re asking me when I will return and I signal back saying soon, very soon.