Thursday 18 July 2019

Honour for Toy Show campaigner (9)

Quaid Cleland (9) from Rathfarnham
Quaid Cleland (9) from Rathfarnham

A NINE-year-old boy who is lobbying RTE to use sign language on this year's Late Late Toy Show has received an award for his efforts.

Quaid Cleland wants the station to ensure deaf children can enjoy the programme just as much as everyone else.

Quaid, who is able to hear, took an interest in sign language after his mother Derval began studying communication with the deaf.

The youngster has now been learning it for three years and hopes to take his 'Level 1' exams shortly. "We don't know anyone who is deaf. He just liked it [sign language]," Derval told the Herald.

While he was watching last December's toy show, he said to his mother that deaf people are not able to watch it the way he does.

From then on, he began a campaign to convince RTE to include the communication method on the programme.

"We've been very surprised at the response. It was his idea that blew up into this campaign. We're optimistic sign language will be used," Derval said.


Quaid can even communicate with deaf-blind people, who hold his hands so they can understand the signs.

He was presented with the Youth Award at the 2014 Hidden Hearing Heroes Awards by RTE presenter Brenda Donohue.

People had been invited to nominate a hero who they felt deserved to be recognised. The winners also included 97-year-old Maureen Cronin, who played a key role in getting the marriage ban lifted for teachers in 1950s.

She became a test case when she defied the ban and carried on teaching in Limerick for a full year without pay. She then continued her career until well after the ban was eventually lifted in 1958.

"I'm extremely happy to present these very special awards, which celebrate the triumphs of inspirational people and give them the recognition they deserve," Ms Donohue said.

"Congratulations to all of today's winners, who have demonstrated bravery, courage and tenacity in the face of adversity and who have enriched the lives of others."


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