By Michron Robinson
The mother of a hearing-impaired son feels at her wit’s end find gainful employment for him and is blaming the education system for what looks as if an enormous roadblock.
Alison Batson, mother of 17-year-old Jahiem Sealy Wharton, is questioning what her next step ought to be.
“Now that my son has finished school, what’s the subsequent step? … He went to the Irving Wilson School and got here out like a five-year old. There isn’t a other option for him to work or go and learn a skill,” she complained.
The mother who works within the food industry said there usually are not many options even on the tertiary level for hearing-impaired youth locally.
“I called the polytechnic (Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology) and so they said they don’t have an interpreter to work with him. Even Skills Training said they don’t have a teacher to show him who does sign language so he principally must be home.”
Batson says that her son who has the power to enter information technology spends his days playing his ps at their Pine St Michael home.
She has many suggestions on what she would really like to see done for other teens throughout the deaf community.
“He’s just at home playing his ps but there’s nothing for him to do. He’s 17 now so I would really like others who’re coming as much as have job opportunities and never to need to do things on their very own. I don’t like the opposite children who’re coming as much as face what he has to face.”
Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Kirk Humphrey said that he has been rallying on behalf of the disabled community, calling on Corporate Barbados to incorporate them within the hiring process.
“I do know that individuals with disabilities, unfortunately, have great difficulty finding work. I’ve made several pleas to the private sector to employ more individuals with disabilities, I’ve insisted my Ministry give greater consideration to hiring individuals with disabilities too,” he told Barbados TODAY.
“In lots of cases, businesses don’t have the infrastructure to accommodate individuals with disabilities and we’d like to do higher as a society. Possibly retrofit some buildings [to help the disabled] but different equipment is required depending on the incapacity, so we now have to get serious.”
Humphrey promised that change is coming to incorporate the disabled community more.
At 18 months old, Sealy-Wharton was diagnosed as hearing impaired but Batson said that the Sandy Lane Charitable Trust helped him so far of partial hearing with a cochlear implant.
“When he got the cochlear implant it helped out quite a bit because he can hear but he signs quite a bit and he doesn’t speak fluently.”
She desires to see more done for her son who can also be keen about learning to drive.
“He would just go on the road with me or stay home. I even tried calling the Challenor School to see in the event that they can take him on but they said they don’t have anyone that may interpret for him,” she added.
The young mother ,who also has a daughter, said this example has impacted her mental health significantly.
“This puts me in a lot anxiety and depression because once I am at work and I can’t take care of him, who will? He doesn’t speak fluently and just calls out words. I believe his next best choice goes to Canada.
“I don’t think here [in Barbados] is for him. There may be a dead end. Here, he will not be only hearing-impaired but additionally, special needs,” Batson reported.
She is knocking on every door just in order that her son has a likelihood at a standard life.
“If someone is on the market and willing to assist us, we’d take the assistance. I’m not only doing this for him but other children who’ve disabilities. They shouldn’t leave school and the subsequent step after graduation is home…”
She has a suggestion for the Ministry of Education where the hearing-impaired community is anxious.
“I believe everyone on this planet should know sign language. When he gets older and I’m not here how will he relate? He can’t relate without someone being there for him. Similar to a foreign language is mandatory at some schools, I believe learning sign language ought to be.”
Batson is hoping to establish a Go Fund me for her son within the near future and she or he doesn’t need to depend on handouts but to have her son find gainful and meaningful employment.