Schoolboy wins humanity award after learning sign language to help deaf classmate

Ross Kelly wanted to ensure 'best friend' Isam Gurung settled in at school

Friday 02 September 2016 13:53 BST
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Ross Kelly and Isam Gurung have become best friends
Ross Kelly and Isam Gurung have become best friends (ABC news/screengrab)

A schoolboy in Australia has been praised for learning sign language in order to help his friend fit in at school.

Ross Kelly, a year six student from Canberra, learned the language from scratch to communicate with his friend Isam Gurung, who had just transfered from a specialist school for the hearing impaired.

Ross and Isam initially started passing notes to each other before Ross went on to the learn Auslan (Australian sign language) so that he could translate lessons and assemblies for his friend.

"He came and he was very, very shy. He didn't want to come to class the first few days," Ross told ABC.

"We started out writing notes to each other and I decided this wasn't very efficient because there was always a delay," he said.

Sarah Middleton, Ross’s teacher, then nominated him for for a special huanity award from the Fred Hollows Foundation, which he duly won.

"It is amazing that he has learnt a whole new language and to see a student take on something so big and be able to follow that passion," she told ABC.

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