Did you know that Ma’am Coryell already recognized Filipino Sign Language?

Disclaimer: I am not an official biographer of Rev. Aimee Ada Coryell. I don’t know if she has one. But I certainly am not for one simple reason, I have only been with her for a very few short days. However, here are the significant details that I personally learned from fellowshipping with her.

Ma'am Aimee (left) and her mother
Ma’am Aimee (left) and her mother

After publishing my recent post about Ma’am Coryell and shared it in Facebook, I received an upsurge in my blogsite visits. I even had inquiries about the book and where to get it. So I decided to make a follow up post about this strong-willed American missionary by listing down three most significant trivia I learned about her. Here they are:

Did you know that…

1. … Ma’am Coryell has already observed and recognized the existence of Filipino Sign Language?

Long before the interest about a unique language used by the Filipino Deaf started to gather support in the mid-90s, Ma’am Coryell has already been using them since the early 1970s. As an American missionary and teacher, Ma’am Coryell is a product of the Peace Corp Volunteer Group that was stationed in different parts of the Philippines. She was a native American Sign Language (ASL) user and has taught this to the Filipino deaf.  As a founder of DEAF School in Laguna in late 1960s, she has strictly implemented the use of ASL in classes due to limited sign vocabulary. However, she has noticed that her students have been using signs that are distinctive to them and which has been slightly diluted with the signs used by deaf community living in Manila.

But because the Laguna school is somewhat isolated from the rest of the community, they have developed their own peculiar signs. That is why during the nineties, teachers for the deaf as well as sign language interpreters have categorized the educated deaf according to the community where they belong. Labels like “Laguna Sign”, “Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) Sign or Manila Sign” and “Bohol Sign” have been widely branded.

Ma’am Coryell has already identified the inherent weakness of the deaf in accessing the written language that is why she included mostly ASL signs in her book “The Basic Way To English for the Deaf”. However, if there are words that she has observed that have signs commonly used by the Filipino Deaf, she incorporated them in her book.

Back Cover Page of the book “The Basic Way of English for the Deaf”

At the back cover of her book, notice the use of “G” hand which is gun shaped and the “T” hand. Both are Filipino Sign Language fingerspell. There are other “FSL signs” that appeared in her book. Although she did not name them as such because Filipino Sign Language has only been coined in mid-90s, she often refers to them as Philippine Signs.

2. … Ma’am Coryell does not know how to speak Tagalog?

I already mentioned this in my previous post so I will just copy-paste it here. Did you know that despite of staying here for many decades, she still cannot speak clear Tagalog? She can only utter perfect “PARA” to tell the jeepney driver to stop. I politely asked her why she never became fluent in Filipino. She confessed that she too has a problem with her ears. She is having difficulty hearing Tagalog pronunciations and diphthongs (sound formed by the combination of two vowels in a single syllable). But what she lacked in learning the local language, she compensated it with her love to the visual language of the Filipino Deaf.

3. … Ma’am Coryell is a speed typist?

On a manual typewriter, the average person types between 38 and 40 words per minute (WPM), what translates into between 190 and 200 characters per minute (CPM). However, professional typists type a lot faster — on average between 50 and 60 WPM. The rate is quite different in a digital keyboard which is being used in laptops and Personal Computers. Ma’am Coryell “boasts” of typing an average of 85 words per minute! Believe me, I’ve seen her do it.

She explained to me that as part of their training as a Peace Corp Volunteer, they are required to acquire and master skills that they can teach to their assigned country. One of them is using the typewriter to create reports, documents and even correspondents. She wants to accomplish things fast and perfect. I believe Ma’am Coryell is the only one who typed the contents of all four of her books.

I added an image of a manual typewriter here for the benefit of new generation of technology users who have never experienced, much less seen what we have been so much accustomed of using. My Dad gifted us one similar to this when we were still in grade school. This is one of his special gifts that we cherished a lot aside from the Kolski piano. He gave us tools to harness our skills. That is why I can type at least 65 words per minute.

If I may be permitted to quote Sir Carl Aguila, a former professor of Dela Salle College (now university), he described her like this,

Rev. Coryell is the closest thing the Philippines has to a “Mother Teresa.”

I couldn’t agree more… 🙂

By the way, for those who want to have a copy of her book, I am sorry that ours are already library copies. I’m not sure that they are still printing these books. But you can try to contact them to inquire through this:

c/o: LAMOIYAN CORPORATION, Km. 15 West Service Road, South Luzon Expressway, Parañaque City, 1700

or the school’s official website at: http://deaffoundationinc.com/contact/

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HIV-AIDS Talk in Filipino Sign Language

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed the into law in January 9 Republic Act 11166 or the “Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018”.

Under the law, the government is mandated to establish programs and policies and adopt a multi-sectoral approach to prevent the spread of HIV, and ensure access to HIV and AIDS-related services “by eliminating the climate of stigma and discrimination” on patients.

The Philippine National AIDS Council is reconstituted and streamlined to ensure effective implementation of the country’s response to the spread of HIV and AIDS among the population. It also provides penalties to people who will discriminate against HIV-positive individuals and enables minors 15 years of age to get tested for HIV.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque has lauded the recent signing as well as informed the public about the alarming rate of increase in persons infected with the virus. Latest data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that 945 newly-diagnosed HIV cases were recorded in November 2018. This is truly a cause for alarm because it also affects the Filipino Deaf. I even heard of one deaf who died of complications due to AIDS.

Nearly a week ago, Outrage Magazine, the only publication dedicated to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups in the Philippines uploaded a series of videos in their YouTube Channel explaining the nature as well as how to get an HIV-AIDS Test in Filipino Sign Language. This to me is very timely as well as helpful in raising the AIDS awareness among the Filipino Deaf Community.

Pinoy Deaf Rainbow Logo
Pinoy Deaf Rainbow Logo

There are a significant number of deaf who belong to the LGBT community. They even organized a group called Pinoy Deaf Rainbow and has been participating in many related activities like Pinoy Pride and beauty pageants. I believe most of the actors that appeared in the Outrage YouTube videos are members of this group. They have and active Facebook Group Page aside from the YouTube Channel.

Here are the YouTube Videos from OutRage Magazine. Please click on each video to watch it.

1. Let’s Talk About HIV

2. Getting Tested for HIV

3. What Happens After You Get Tested for HIV

In behalf of this blogger, I warmly salute Outrage Magazine for creating these videos explained in Filipino Sign Language. I am very positive that these advocacy videos will enlighten our entire Filipino Deaf Community, not just the Deaf LGBT group.  🙂

MCCID scholarship exam on March 24

Scholarship Exam Poster
Scholarship Exam Poster

Attention all deaf high school graduates! Do you want to study Information Technology courses in the “Home of the Filipino Deaf World IT Champions” but are having difficulty financially? Now is your chance to study at MCCID!

We are offering up to 100% scholarship grants on your fees. All you need to do is take the scholarship examination which will be held on Tuesday, March 24 at 9:00 am in our campus in San Mateo, Rizal. The entrance exam is free.

To know more about it, please feel free to contact us at (632)664-7034, text at 09204656138 (Smart) or email us at info@mccid.edu.ph. You may also go to our website at http://www.mccid.edu.ph to know more about our courses offered.

Visit our Contact Us page to know the directions on how to get there!

 

Adieu, Ma’am Ellen Castillo…

Mural for Ma'am Ellen
To our beloved Ma’am Ellen:
As one of the outstanding pillars of Filipino Deaf Education,
we greatly salute you for all the wonderful works and passion you have
shared with us. You have truly inspired us to serve the Filipino Deaf.
We would surely miss you. But we are also contented believing
that you are now together with our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ!
You will always be remembered in our hearts! 🙂
from MCCID College of Technology and Esposa Family

Long before the establishments of Deaf Evangelistic Alliance Foundation in Cavinti, Laguna, Philippine Institute for the Deaf Oral School, CAP College for the Deaf, College of St. Benilde and MCCID…  long before the Filipino Sign Language noise and deaf culture recognition… long before the empowerment of the Filipino Deaf…  there is one wonderful woman who took the burden of sharing God’s love and care for the deaf youth…

We greatly salute you Ma’am Ellen Castillo of Bible Institute for the Deaf. You will surely be missed.

 

Government health workers in Metro Manila given sign language training

This is a repost from Business Mirror.

THE regional office of the Department of Health (DOH) started on Wednesday training health-care providers on Basic Filipino Sign Language (BFSL) for them to use in communicating and understanding patients in health-care facilities with hearing disabilities.

“This is the first phase of our development program for our health workers who are involved with patients with disabilities [PWDs]. We want to make health services to better serve those who have disabilities and make it easier for them to go to a health center and tell a health worker what they need without worries,” Regional Director Eduardo Janairo said.

Janairo said the training will also increase their knowledge and understanding about PWDs and how they can improve their attitudes towards patients who are disabled.

“These improvements are not so difficult or expensive to do. All we need is determination and dedication and the proper skill to make it possible,” Janairo emphasized.

The first batch of trainees will be provided with a module that will familiarize them with the basic signs for communication with deaf patients. These includes the alphabet, numbers, greetings, time, days, months and commonly asked questions inside the emergency room. After memorizing simple gestures and facial expressions, trainees can interact with hearing impaired patients.

Among the 25 participants included in the training are health workers from the Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Heart Center, Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital, Las Piñas General and Satellite Trauma Center, San Lorenzo Ruiz Women’s Hospital, Valenzuela Medical Center,  San Lazaro Hospital, Ospital ng Makati, Mandaluyong City Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital and Region 4A.

Media practitioners from the Philippine News Agency, Philippine Information Agency, LOQAL.ph-Filquest Media Concepts and Public Information Office of Marikina were also invited to join the training.

The DOH-NCR launched the first BFSL Module for Health Workers on November 13, 2012, with the objective of educating health workers with basic sign language for them to better communicate and understand deaf patients in their care.

It was developed through the support of the University of the University of the Philippines-PGH, CAP College for the Deaf, De La Salle University’s College of Saint Benilde and the Department of Education-National Capital Region.

Janairo said health workers provide treatment and care to many people daily and some patients are not fortunate to communicate the normal way.

“We want to help the patient but we do not speak his language and he on his part cannot convey to us what he needs. Some of these patients are not accompanied by relatives. That is why it is imperative for us educate ourselves with their language to be able to communicate with them and give them the proper health care treatment,” he added

“We will extend this training to all health providers in the region until most health workers are taught how to communicate using signs. This skill is essential as we do not want to commit errors and prescribe the wrong treatment just because we lack the knowledge to communicate with our patients,” Janairo added.

 

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