The team from Tangata Pasifika, a weekly TVNZ television show covering Pacific people and issues in New Zealand and abroad, visits Kelston Deaf Education Centre (KDEC) and meets with a number of Pasifika Deaf students part of the school’s transition programme.
This episode, which is highly medically focused, reports that many Pasifika people become Deaf due to glue ear, a common middle-ear infection, with a doctor suggesting ways to prevent deafness occurring.
We meet with the family of one student, Rosie Amituanai, who share their struggles when Rosie became sick and subsequently Deaf.
We are taken into the world of a classroom at KDEC with a number of transition students at work. It is mentioned that Signed English is being used here instead of the more natural language of the Deaf community (NZSL). A teacher mentions she feels the Deaf students would have more learning successes if they were fluent in NZSL first, admitting that Signed English is only useful if the Deaf student actually has prior knowledge of English.
Rosie states that it would be nice for hearing people to learn NZSL too so they can communicate easily with Deaf people.
The segment ends with the school’s audiologist giving some tips for successful verbal communication with Deaf people, such as not raising your voice as that distorts the voice and mouth patterns.