Tuesday 26 March 2019

Better Late Late than never, as Toy Show to use sign language

Quaid Cleland (10), Katie McGuanne (age 11) from Mid-west School for the Deaf in Limerick with Santa Claus
Quaid Cleland (10), Katie McGuanne (age 11) from Mid-west School for the Deaf in Limerick with Santa Claus
Ryan Tubridy will get us all in the festive mood when he presents The Toy Show on Friday night

A TEN-year-old boy will be responsible for a historic contribution to the Late Late Toy Show on Friday night when sign language will be used for the first time.

The campaign for its inclusion – led by Quaid Cleland from Rathfarnham, Dublin – was brought to the attention of Toy Show producers in August and they decided to incorporate his idea.

A spokesperson for RTE explained that they “will be doing something around sign language on the Toy Show this year”.

Quaid, who is able to hear,  has been campaigning to have the Toy Show broadcast through sign language and believes that every person should learn to communicate through sign.

The youngster was speaking at the Christmas Toy Show in the RDS, where 50 lucky children from schools for the deaf across the country were greeted by Santa through sign   language.

“Everyone in the country should learn to sign so we can all communicate,” said Quaid, who celebrated his tenth birthday on Tuesday.

The children met with Mr and Mrs Claus in their Christmas grotto and Elf interpreters were also on hand to assist the children through the Santa experience.

Quaid is a prominent deaf awareness campaigner who made headlines in August when it was revealed that he was lobbying RTE to use sign language during The Late Late Toy Show.

The youngster 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 the campaign Get        Ireland Signing.

Quaid was crowned Young Learner of the Year at the 2014 Signature Annual Awards in Durham, England, in October, for campaigning for sign language. 

The Christmas Toy Show organiser Patrick O’Sullivan praised Quaid’s dedication to trying to raise awareness of signing.

“This was a very special event here at the Christmas Toy Show and we are delighted to have been able to help Quaid spread his message to get Ireland signing,” he said.

“It was a privilege to see the dedication of Quaid, his helper elves and Mr and Mrs Claus, who all volunteered their time to be here with us today,”  he added.

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