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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C
get ireland signing

This little boy is on a mission to get RTÉ using sign language on the Toy Show

Quaid Cleland is a nine-year-old hearing child who wants to get the whole country signing.

NINE-YEAR-OLD Quaid Cleland is on a mission. He wants to get the whole country using sign language and his first step is to convince RTÉ to use it on the Late Late Toy show.

Quaid is a hearing child who was first introduced to Irish Sign Language (ISL) by his mother who was studying communication with the Deaf. At the age of six, he started a campaign to get Ireland signing as he believes everyone in the country should learn it so we can all communicate.

He has been visiting residents at a retirement home for the Deaf and Deafblind and chats for hours with them. He will also represent Ireland in awards that honour work being carried out in the UK and Ireland to improve access for Deaf and Deafblind people.

His main focus right now, however, is to get RTÉ using ISL on children’s shows.

The nine-year-old’s mother, Derval, told that her son feels Deaf children “should be able to talk with hearing” and he is asking RTÉ to use ISL on the Late Late Toy Show “so Deaf children can enjoy the show the way he does”.

She said the Toy Show is his favourite TV show “because he loves toys and he always asks Santa to bring him a toy for his mom”.

Since January, he has been sending RTÉ a video every month as part of a 12 Months of Christmas series. Each video shows Quaid signing a different word or phrase.

fireflyfone / YouTube

Quaid told us he thinks it’s really important that the Toy Show uses ISL “because young children can’t read subtitles but know signs for bike, doll, teddy and stuff like that”.

In his most recent video, he showed RTÉ how to sign “drinking a milkshake” and included photos of him having fun with friends and family at an Eddie Rockets.

Just this week he found out he will be meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in September to talk about his campaign and he will also be meeting Brendan O’Carroll in November.

He has just four months and four videos left to do and you can watch and support his campaign through his Facebook page. If that gets you in the mood to learn a few signs yourself, you can have a look at our video guide to key ISL phrases to get you started.

Read: Senator claims ‘discrimination’ as row erupts over sign language interpreter in the Dáil>

VIDEOS: Learn how to order a pint using Irish Sign Language>

Opinion: The rights of the Deaf community have just been spectacularly undermined>

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