Talking Hands; A Deaf Electronics Worker Has Become a Sign Languages Teacher to Colleagues in a Bid for Better Communication

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), August 19, 1999 | Go to article overview

Talking Hands; A Deaf Electronics Worker Has Become a Sign Languages Teacher to Colleagues in a Bid for Better Communication


THE fact that husband and wife Martha and Martin Carnegie are deaf is having an enlightening effect on their workmates at Raytheon Systems Ltd in Glenrothes.

For Martha is a woman with a mission. She wants to help other people learn the sign language she uses so that they can talk more easily to her and others who are deaf.

Colleagues can now speak the same language as production operator Martha after she taught them during a 10-week sign language course.

Thirty-four people at the leading defence electronics firm gave Martha's lessons the thumbs up when she last ran a course and already there are a good number who have signed on for her new course.

Martha, who has 27 years of service with the company, said: "When I joined at the age of 17, few hearing people knew how to do sign language.

"Lip-reading was the only way for me to communicate with my colleagues and it was often difficult to understand someone I was meeting for the first time."

Because the company's policy is to support employees with hearing difficulties, Martha, husband Martin and others with hearing problems have been kept well informed on issues.

When information is being given orally to staff at group meetings and presentations, there is always clear written data provided for them.

MARTHA'S classes are hosted by the company in their in-house learning suite.

Recently, all 690 employees had to attend a vital staff presentation.Two sign language professionals joined the speaker centre stage to communicate company information to the employees with hearing loss.

Martha said: "The response overwhelmed me. People I've never met before came up to me and said how interested they were.

"So I decided to run another course. It's a big commitment, but the teaching part comes naturally.

"We taught our son and daughter to recognise sign language as early as nine months old. …

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