Last update: 12-Dec-2013 4:05 am
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Six CSEC passes for hearing-impaired student
Amir Andi-Abdoerrachman is an 18-year-old student from the Marabella South Secondary School who has proven hard work can triumph over any hardship. He was born without the ability to hear, but still passed six out of seven subjects with one distinction in his Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) this year. Amir’s mother, Sieudaye Andi-Abdoerrachman, said she was ecstatic about his results. She added that it was an emotional time, as Amir’s father, her husband Rachmanoedin, died in January this year after suffering a stroke. Speaking to the T&T Guardian via telephone on Friday, Sieudaye’s voice broke, as she said, “I’m sad because he is not here to celebrate with us.”
She said Amir’s ability to overcome the loss of his father and still excel in his examinations was admirable, and she was proud of him. Amir received a distinction in technical drawing, grade one in building technology, grade two in integrated science, and three grade three’s in agriculture science, mathematics and social studies. When asked by his mother how he felt when he saw his results, Amir signed back excitedly “surprised and happy.” Sieudaye could be heard telling him to sign slower so she could understand. He told her that studying was difficult, but “all students would say that,” not only him because he was deaf. “He’s exceptional, he worked hard and sacrificed a lot,” Sieudaye gushed. She credited his success to his ability to understand things easily, saying as soon as he grasped a topic, he got it.
Amir has applied to the University of T&T to pursue applied engineering, as he has dreams of becoming a civil engineer like his father was. What is holding him back, however, is that he failed English A at the CSEC examination. Sieudaye said she was hopeful something could be worked out, as Amir communicated with his hands. She said her wish was that more provisions would be made for the hearing-impaired, including enlisting interpreters at various institutions to help with communication. “He needs someone to interpret for him, but interpreters are costly,” she said. Also, she is hoping for support from social welfare in the form of a disability grant. Since Sieudaye does not work, she depends on assistance from the Government. Amir is also a Scrabble whiz, Sieudaye said, as he represented T&T in Malaysia at the World Youth Scrabble Championship (WYSC) in December 2011, and then in another master’s tournament in Birmingham last year. “He walks into those competitions with confidence,” she said.
She said he loved games that required one to think, like Scrabble and chess. His principal, Sheldon Jodha, said Amir was an exceptional student who never let his impairment hold him back.
“He was an exemplary student,” he said in a telephone interview. Being one of three hearing impaired students at Marabella South, Jodha said they “fit in like everyone else.” And that’s the message Sieudaye wanted to send out. “They (people with a hearing disability) think they are not good enough. But I want to tell them they are just differently-abled. ‘You have to use sign, that’s all.’” She said that with the right support, which included encouragement and people who could use sign language, there was nothing a hearing-impaired person couldn’t do. “They need people to believe in them, and then they can do anything they want.”
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