NATION

Hearing Impaired Mother of 9 Children Grateful for Challenges

Acceptance and inclusivity at home and in the community were the elements that developed Ms Qionilase’s confidence to communicate with people using sign language while growing up.
26 Sep 2021 10:46
Hearing Impaired Mother of 9 Children Grateful for Challenges
Sereana Qionilase (back row, middle) standing with her two daughters, Ruth (left) and Elenani (right). Sitting are her four other children, from left: Naomi, Luke, Mesake Junior and Faith.

Being a hearing impaired mother of nine children is no easy task, but this is a somewhat different tale for Nadroga native, Sereana Qionilase.
The 46-year-old of Nausocoko Village lost her ability to hear at the age of five, after suffering a short illness.
Acceptance and inclusivity at home and in the community were the elements that developed her confidence to communicate with people using sign language while growing up.
Communicating
The biggest challenge for her was to communicate with her nine children.
She began this using pictures and objects.
With the help of her husband, Mesake who is also a hearing impaired person, they managed to teach their children the language.
Ms Qionilase is currently the only hearing impaired teacher at the Lautoka School for Special Education.
In an interview with the Fiji Sun, her daughter, Ruth interpreted that her mother was an inspiration to many.
“While growing up, I was surrounded by deaf people, my family accepted me for who I was,” she interpreted.
Ms Qionilase was a student at Lautoka School for Special Education, where they were first taught to communicate through lip reading.
Children
Ruth further interpreted for her mum saying: “With my children, I didn’t need help from anyone. When raising my first child, I communicated with her through the sense touch so when she moved I knew I had to communicate with her.
“At first it was hard for me but my children got used to sign language and that is how they learned and are familiar with it now.”
Her youngest child, five-year-old Luke is also familiar with sign language.
Ruth says the only challenge that she endured was trying to communicate with her mother when trying to get assistance with her homework.
She said with the help from her mother, the family was able to raise awareness about sign language.



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