On the World Day dedicated to sign language, which is today, 23 September, 16-year-old Melissa Aquilina is appealing to all Maltese and Gozitans to become familiar with at least the basics of Maltese sign language, so that if they meet persons like her with a hearing impairment, they will be able to communicate.
Interviewed on the Ras Imb’Ras programme, Melissa said she had been born with normal hearing, but when she was three years old the doctors realised she was deaf. She explained that her mother took a course to learn sign language, and when she started attending school she learned many new things from the sign language interpreter allocated to her.
Melissa understands lip reading when people speak to her, but stressed on the importance of being spoken to slowly. On the challenge of wearing masks during the Covid-19 pandemic, Melissa said she asks people to use pen and paper or pretend they are messaging on their mobile, which will enable her to read and follow.
You can follow the full interview with Melissa Aquilina during the final edition of Ras Imb’Ras which goes out on TVM at 7.15 p.m.