Deaf student graduates

National, Normal

The National, Mondy 14th November 2011

NELSON Walo, 21, dressed in tuxedo, graduated last Friday at the Tusbab Secondary School despite being hearing impaired.
Against all odds, the youth of Milne Bay and East New Britain heritage, spoke through his interpreter using sign language of the hardships he faced in school.
“Many times teachers did not wait for me to catch up.
“I have to be very good at lip reading. If I, for some reason miss out, then that’s it for me,” interpreter Roslyn Willie said on his behalf.
What he missed out on, he got from his classmate and buddy since Grade 8 at Lutheran Day, Pondros Pondros.
Walo said it was hard and he was thankful he had made it through.
Willie is a trained deaf education resource teacher and has made it her personal business to engage primary and secondary teachers to learn how to use sign language.
“I find it hard to just walk in and teach a bunch of secondary high school teachers coming from an elementary school scenario but saw it equally important that this hurdle for Nelson would be better tackled this way,” she said.
“The number in attendance dropped as the class wore on. I would come in every Tuesday afternoons but I found that the time clashed with some of their activities. I told them to call me when it was convenient for them. I never got a call,” she said.
But she is grateful to the principal Mrs Va­lakvi for her belief in Nelson by allowing him to do Grades 9 and 10.
Nelson said he would like to complete Grades 11 and 12 and hopefully go to Divine Word University, where both his parents work.
Being hearing impaired, Nelson had to miss out on a dictation test in Grade 8 despite Willie asking the school to sit in and interpret for him.
His proud mother said Nelson was not born with the defect but had some blood and pus coming out of his ear which no medication could stop.
She said they went for an operation at the Port Moresby General Hospital and the doctor who operated on him damaged his ears.
Nelson is the chairman of the Madang deaf club which has 15 members so far and is involved in other projects involving the people living with disabilities.