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Deaf Student Beats The Odds

Deaf Student Beats The Odds

Born with a hearing impediment, Durban University of Technology IT student Talisa Talthapersad saw her challenge as no reason for failure.

Talthapersad, 22, from Kharwastan in Chatsworth, has defied her deafness and will receive the Special Achievement Award from the IT Department when she graduates with her National Diploma on Wednesday next week (18 April 2012) at the Steve Biko Campus in Durban.

“She was basically born without any hearing,” said Talisa’s mother Sagree Talthapersad. Diagnosed at 14 months with no hearing by an audiologist, she thereafter attended the early parent/child guidance hearing centre at Durban School for the Hearing Impaired and stayed on until matriculating in 2007. “Talisa regularly attended the Carel Du Toit Centre in Cape Town, a centre dedicated to giving hearing impaired children a voice, where she received intensive speech therapy and guidance. She continued her speech therapy in Durban as well,” said Mrs Lalthapersad.

Profoundly deaf people have deafness at a level so deep that they cannot hear sounds for speech. While a hearing aid helps to some degree, it aids on very loud sounds. Talisa’s intensive therapy, coupled with the fitting of a high tech hearing aid eventually paid off. She vocalised.

“She completed her matric at DSHI in Amanzimtoti, where she matriculated with five distinctions and was placed among the top 10 candidates in the Special Education in KwaZulu-Natal in 2007,” said Mrs Lalthapersad.

Mrs Lalthapersad said Talisa’s high school principal Mrs. T. Naidoo introduced her to Mrs Nayantra Kanaye, Deaf Programme Co-ordinator at DUT who would mentor her daughter throughout her studies at the university.

She described her daughter as a friendly and hard working young lady, who lets nothing bring her down and never feels sorry for herself. She said while one of the challenges her daughter faced was writing the same national matric examination as the rest, the biggest was learning to vocalise despite her deafness.

Mrs Kanaye said Talisa has done extremely well in her academic studies. She said the Special Achievement Award is given to students with special needs who perform academically well despite the limitations they face. “Deaf students, because of the deafness and the consequences thereof regarding literacy levels, experience much difficulty with tertiary studies. The Department of IT therefore takes cognizance of this and awards such a student with a Special Achievement Award if the student passes all the courses that they have registered for in that particular academic year provided that the courses are not being repeated,” she said.

Talisa is thrilled about her achievement. She is on a learnership which will last for a year at Bytes Technology, Westville. She started in December last year and is the only hearing impaired candidate in her group.

“Read, go to libraries and persevere to make yourself to do whatever is necessary to accomplish your most treasured dreams and goals is my advice to other students with disabilities. I plan to further my studies soon. I want a B.Com IT,” said Talisa.

Issued by
Sinegugu Ndlovu
Media Officer
Durban University of Technology
031 373 2845
078 615 2662