PUCHONG, 30 October 2019: Thirty-three students from the Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) participated in a Deaf awareness program at Tadika/Taska Istika Jaya OKU Pendengaran, Puchong. The project, themed ‘Let’s Sign Together’ was an educational activity organised by the Faculty to provide exposure to students who have completed the Basic Sign Language Communication Course conducted through the Wisdom Wednesday program.
In addition, the visit was aimed at creating disability awareness and instilling understanding of the Deaf culture, while allowing social integration between the Deaf community and the general public. The event was funded by the Faculty, with sponsorship of goodie bags containing toothpaste, vouchers and oral health educational materials from Kodomo Lion.
Under the supervision of eight lecturers from the Faculty, participating students developed and executed various educational activities related to oral health, general wellbeing and natural sciences. All the activities were conducted via Sign Language, under the guidance of the kindergarten teachers, who mostly are also Deaf.
“It is overwhelming to observe how comfortable our students are in communicating with the Deaf children in Sign Language”, said Associate Professor Dr Mas Suryalis Ahmad, who is the Resource Person and trainer of the Basic Sign Language Communication course. The program also received positive feedback from the Centre’s teachers and children, who found the activities interesting and fun.
“This is the first time that an event related to dentistry is conducted at our Centre. Thank you for making effort to educate and entertain our Deaf children using Sign Language. We are impressed with the level of communication skills demonstrated by UiTM students. We hope to see more doctors (and dentists) with the ability in Sign Language communication”, said Mrs Helen, the Supervisor of Tadika/Taska Istika Jaya OKU Pendengaran.
UiTM students who participated in this program also opined that the visit was an eye opener, which enabled them to experience dealing with Deaf individuals in a real-life situation. Some participants expressed development of empathy and a better appreciation towards people with disability following the activity.
“The Basic Sign Language Communication course is delivered over 8 weeks, conducted through a mixture of hands-on workshops, lectures, blended learning and Deaf exposure activities. It is hoped that UiTM students who have undergone this program would continue to advocate for people with disability, while they help to reduce the barrier faced by this group of patients in attaining equal access to quality health care”, a closure statement made by Associate Professor Dr Mas Suryalis Ahmad, as she marked the successful completion of this course by the first cohort of students.