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The Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASOD) has trained more than 1,000 civil servants in the state civil service in sign language communication in the past three years.

The Permanent Secretary, Office of Youth and Social Development, Dr. Adesegun Oshiyimika who disclosed this recently while addressing participants at this year’s Sign Language Communication workshop advised them to make good use of the opportunity the training provides them with by building on what they would be taught at the workshop.

“I would urge you to see this training a means of communicating with people with hearing challenges, but have thought of it as a possible other avenue of making some money?” Assuring them of the benefits he said, “The increasing level of awareness on the need for consideration of people with disability at public engagements has led to higher demands for those with sign language communication skill.” But you can only tap from it if you make good use of this opportunity and develop your skill further,” he advised.

He revealed that deliberate policies that would guarantee the inclusion and social integration of persons with disability would enable them perform optimally and contribute to society’s growth and development, stressing that it is in recognition of this that the Lagos state government formulated policies capable of uplifting their social values and acceptance.

Speaking further, he said government has taken it as a priority to improve / promote communication with those with hearing impairment because of the need to alleviate the plight of people with hearing impairment. “For a person living with hearing impairment, lack of effective communication with the rest of the world is the biggest barrier in their daily activities which has become quite frustrating for them; making life become unfair and the rest of us, unkind to them,” he noted.

Chairman, LASODA board, Mrs. Toun Animashaun admonished the participants to always practice what they will be taught at the workshop. She urged the people not to discriminate against people with disability with a warning that the agency will explore all legal options available to challenge any discriminatory action against people living with disability in the state while advising those affected not to take laws into their own hands but seek redress through LASODA.

Sixty-eight employees from across various ministries, departments and other agencies of Lagos state government took part in this year’s programme that lasted for two days. Participants learnt certain basic non-verbal sign demonstrations relating to different fields and sectors of the economy/society like health, transport system, body parts, professions and professionals, cultural practice.

Since its establishment, LASODA has continued to implement some of the provisions as contained in the Lagos State Special Peoples’ Law of 2011 such as the registration of people with disability residing within the state and the marking of disabled people parking lots at both the old and current secretariats which will later be extended to cover other parts of the state.

Other activities so far carried out by the agency include organizing the first ever exhibition specifically meant to showcase products and services produced by people with disability as well as tools and appliances used by pwds in Lagos state tagged “Disability Expo” held at Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, secretariat, last year and also giving out some lower artificial limbs to indigent amputees also in the past year.

 

Ademiluyi Adebowale

PRO, LASODA

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