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Spelling Bee for the Hearing Impaired Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 06 December 2012 00:00


Sharon August, Manager for NARCIE told the Guardian that the event is held every year during Disability Week to showcase students who are hearing impaired. The objective is to show the public that like any other student, people with hearing impediments  are able to learn, compete and be successful in life. The event also helps students in expanding their sign language vocabulary. It also assists participants in improving their reading and comprehension abilities. She added that every year, a book and DVD is provided to people working with children with hearing impairments. These tools are used by the students, parents and teachers to help prepare for the competition but also throughout the year to improve the students comprehension and vocabulary skills.

This year ,competitors came from across the country with participation from Jalacte Roman Catholic School in Toledo, San Antonio also in Toledo, Cayo Deaf Institute, Stella Maris School in Belize City, Mary Hill Roman Catholic School in Corozal and St Peter's Anglican School in Orange Walk. August explained that the competition sees 5 rounds with each participant getting three words to spell in each round. And the words given to the students are age-appropriate. According to August, students who participated this year are allowed to do so because they have some level of hearing loss to the point where they are classified as hard of hearing or are completely deaf. The Junior category is made up of students ages 6 to 9 years of age while, the seniors are from ages 10 to 14.

It was noteworthy that this year’s competitors came from schools that are normal schools. To this, August explains that students with hearing impairments actually enroll in such schools and form part of the student bodies. She added however, that these students are posed with extra challenges in these circumstances especially if there are no teachers in the school who are trained in sign language. 

One school, which does not experience that problem, is the Cayo Deaf Institute where the top two spellers in the Junior Category hailed from. For Marvin Dueck, the instructor, it was a proud moment to see two of his students succeed. He said that it took them two months of preparation and practicing words from a list of 237 to reach their prize. And the boys, Wilfred Coc and Jacob Chun ,couldn't have been more pleased, they signed that throughout the whole competition they were just calm.