“In terms of the availability of proficient teachers who could teach at all of the school boards … we’re not there yet,” said Blackett, who was involved in Thursday’s announcement. “It’s important to recognize that some capacity does have to be built over time.”
But she said introducing the curriculums represented an important first step.
“The fact that they’ll be available has tremendous impact on our community,” she said.
“ASL and LSQ has traditionally been looked down upon, but this initiative will show that these languages are equivalent to spoken language.”
Frank Smith, national co-ordinator for the Ottawa-based National Educational Association of Disabled Students (NEADS), which offers support to post-secondary students with disabilities, agreed introducing the courses was a “great idea.”
“The goal should always be to increase the number of Canadians that communicate in sign languages for greater equity in society,” he said.
He added that sign languages — including ASL and LSQ, as well as Indigenous sign languages — should be recognized as official languages in Canada.
“If Ontario and other provinces make sign language a part of curricula, then more people in society, including those who aren’t deaf and whose first language is English or French, will be able to communicate with deaf Canadians,” Smith said.
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