Volunteer John helps client Mustafa learn ASL

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In the spring of 2018, Providing Access to Healthcare (PATH) facilitators were looking for ways to support one of our hearing impaired clients, Mustafa. Mustafa had never been to school previously, and was quite isolated at home here in Saskatoon. Coincidentally, staff became aware that one of our new volunteers, John Moffatt, signs American Sign Language (ASL) and had experience interpreting for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

We reached out to John to see if he would be interested in working one-on-one with Mustafa, and he jumped at the opportunity! Mustafa had his own way of communicating through a sort of sign language that he and his family used, but with John’s help, he is beginning to learn ASL. Over this past winter, the pair increased their meetings from once to three times per week and Mustafa has learned many new signs and has started to develop his writing skills.

The progress Mustafa has shown is truly remarkable! Mustafa can now tell time (clock and calendar), recognize and print the upper-case and lower-case letters of the alphabet, and sign simple sentences.  He has learned to use a computer to access and learn more ASL signs and practise math games. From time to time, Mustafa’s excitement upon learning a new concept would spill over to the point where he couldn’t contain it, like the day he learned to count numbers to 1000 using only one hand!

The thrill of learning something new and his pride in the accomplishment led him to enthusiastically demonstrate what he could do to others in the GGP building. GGP staff enjoyed this time to interact with John and Mustafa and celebrate his learning successes with him. GGP would like to thank John for making such a positive difference in Mustafa’s life.

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