CBSS hearing and speech impaired student makes history

Ricky Barry is speech and hearing impaired

Eighteen year-old Ricky Barry, of the Castle Bruce Secondary School (CBSS), has made history as the first hearing and speech impaired Dominican to attempt the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations.

Barry, who hails from Mahaut River, in the Kalinago Territory, passed five of the six subjects he attempted at the CSEC exams, with the help of teacher and language interpreter, Abrahim Fontaine.

In an interview with Dominica News Online (DNO), on Thursday, Fontaine stated that his “main purpose” at the school was to work with Barry, whom he described as well-integrated and diligent.

“During his time at the school… he was part of the classroom session. He wasn’t taught individually, by himself. He was placed within the classroom environment. So, during his time at the school, most of the students, they treated Ricky like a normal student,” Fontaine said. “…Overall, Ricky Barry, he really worked hard… It was a challenge, but I think he did well. He worked hard, and I think it shows.”

He attributed Barry’s success partly to early intervention and his sociable nature, which allowed him to make friends.

Fontaine showed pride in his student’s accomplishment, and explained that the teachers were “very supportive” and “very helpful” in providing the assistance and equipment needed for special education.

Barry, who is fluent in American Sign Language, obtained passes in Agricultural Science, Electronic Documentation Preparation and Management, Integrated Science, Mathematics, and Physical Education.

The language interpreter encouraged other differently abled to actively pursue opportunities for self-improvement.

“Give yourself a chance… people with special needs… I feel that if the system or if there is a way for you to develop yourself professionally, I think that you should take advantage of it,” he urged.

Fontaine noted that the Ministry of Education worked to accommodate Barry’s special needs, providing language specialists to assist him throughout his high school journey.

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  1. Teacher
    August 27, 2019

    Ricky started off his first year with no assistance. The teachers struggled to get through to him . He seemed to have loved maths and did better at it than most areas. He Integrated well in the classroom and had more friends than some students
    Somewhere around second or third form he got an assistant and that pushed him to success. Congrats to him and the teachers who worked with him. I know there are very hard working staff at CBSS and this is a testimony that hard work and dedication from all angles can bring success. Co grats to CBSS too for emerging top in the CXC.

  2. slimmy
    August 25, 2019

    excellent! hope this is something we will see more off in the future

  3. Brenda
    August 25, 2019

    Excellent. Congratulations to him.

  4. mine
    August 25, 2019

    Well done young man, with God everything is possible. He went for what he wanted he did not let his disability keep him behind, he was determine and he did it. Congratulation to you young man.

  5. Alec Challenger
    August 24, 2019

    I applaud his accomplishments and the steady drive to pursue at that level .

    Special recognition to his Parents, teachers and students to embrace him at his most difficult moment .

  6. August 24, 2019

    Give thanks to God young man. I can relate to your disabilities.

    One of my sisters has those same disabilities, from her childhood. She is now an adult moving around as normal as the rest of us.

    She learned to read our lips during her childhood; what we had to do was to get her attention when we needed to speak to her directly. Today we have no problem communicating with her.

    I am the first child of my parents and I was born with the same disease as my sister, but it did not affect me until I was in my late 30’s; I was a school teacher by the time I migrated from Dominica to Canada in 1974

    But thanks to God for the Government of Canada, today I use what is called a Cochlear Implant to assist my hearing ability.

    King David said about God: “Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written; the days fashioned for me when as yet there were none of them”. That is a proven truth!

  7. Concerned
    August 24, 2019

    I say congratulation to this young man for his diligent work at obtaining his passes at exams. We must all celebrate in his success and wish him the best in his future endeavors.

  8. Delices in US
    August 24, 2019

    What a great accomplishment. Congrats to you and I wish you the best in your endeavors. May you excel in all that you do. People who are disabled take note. A disability is never the end of who you are supposed to be. Congrats also to the people who stood by you to get you through this journey. I’m sure it was easy but the desire to get you to where you are was accomplished.

  9. Shaka zulu
    August 24, 2019

    Great success story. Great job Barry!! You are fluent in sign language i am not so which on of us has a disability? Your future is bright lad.

  10. Marcelle ledoux
    August 23, 2019

    Excellent job, this shows if you want to learn you can regardless what challenges and disability you have. His parents should be very proud.

  11. Kerris Shillingford
    August 23, 2019

    Let me begin my saying congratulations to the student! Good job.
    I apprecuate DNO highlighting this student’s academic success whilst having a disability. However, we should focus on ‘People First Language’..meaning that the headline should say…CBSS student with hearing & speech inpairment makes history. That way, the student is acknowledged first and his disability after. His disability is not his identity.

  12. Roger Burnett
    August 23, 2019

    I give credit to this young man. Even with all senses, life isn’t easy but to achieve success against all odds is commendable.

    For those of us who are hearing impaired (in my case the result of having lived more than a three quarter century) it would help if people would not mumble their words but speak clearly, especially over the telephone. Both in the public and private sector respondents to my calls answer with an indistinct whisper.

    • August 25, 2019

      @Roger Burnett, I can relate to what you are saying. I have hearing impairment also, but it corrected with a Cochlear Implant, thanks to God for the Canadian Government.

      However, I still need to read some people’s lips to understand what they are saying, and it is a no, no with those who speak as if they are always in a rush; those who mumble their words, just as you said; and all the others ways people’s speech that a hearing-impaired person cannot tolerate. I don’t even bother using the telephone; it will have to be email or text messaging.

      And at my age, I am out of the World of public socializing; one or two friends at home is enough for me. But I pity the young person with this disability, it is really tough to deal with. May God’s will be done in their lives.

  13. G Henry williams
    August 23, 2019

    Well done my friend.

  14. DC
    August 23, 2019

    Congratulations young man!

  15. Blaxx-familia
    August 23, 2019

    Great job. To have accomplished this task, u needed much focus. The ASL and English languages are distinctly different.

  16. Nature Island
    August 23, 2019

    Congratulations on your achievements.. to Barry and your support team. “Never Underestimate the Power of Dreams and the Influence of the Human Spirit”. Wilma Rudolph.

  17. Past teacher
    August 23, 2019

    That’s my boy. He took part in a sports activity in Dubai and now great 👍🏿 success!!! He worked hard !

  18. Kings
    August 23, 2019

    Does anyone have a WhatsApp group contact for Dom state college students?

  19. Truth
    August 23, 2019

    I am so proud of the achievements of CBSS both students and teachers you define all odds. This young man is a great example and a success story. Keep the faith young man and trust God always. Praise to God, your parents, teachers and classmate who treated you just like the others. May God continue to bless the school.

  20. Rat Race
    August 23, 2019

    Wish Jah continue to bless this young man. This is truly inspirational.

    August 23, 2019

    Yet the United Wicked People say the Government don’t care about our youths education.
    Even this impaired student has done better at school than their leader.
    While the youths are out there seeking for education to better themselves in the competitive world, The United Wicked People(UWP) out there asking for the MONEY from the Polaziro.
    Uncle, can YOU tell us and the party members how much money You got from the Polaziro and where You put the MONEY?

    • Braindamage
      August 24, 2019

      Bless you ” Kid on the Block”.
      With all your senses, yet still you are suffering.

    • August 24, 2019

      @Kid, some of what you wrote somewhat came to my mind, but I shoved it off, there is a time and place for everything

  22. AP
    August 23, 2019

    Well done young man. Keep up the good work!!

    • me
      August 23, 2019

      i would like to know why there would be a dislike….

  23. :-)
    August 23, 2019

    Well done young man!!! Differently able is not a hindrance nor is it a life sentence. Keep pushing and you will be great.

  24. Teach
    August 23, 2019

    This is very commendable

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