Sign interpreter Irma Sluis is going to make a children's program

Sign interpreter Irma Sluis, together with radio DJ Igmar Felicia, will make the first Dutch television program with and for the deaf and hard of hearing. It is the presentation debut of the sign interpreter, who became known through the corona press conferences. The program will start on November 13 on NPO Zapp, broadcaster KRO-NCRV has announced.

The TV show will be titled Hands Up. Six duos, with a deaf or hard-of-hearing child and a well-known Dutch person, have to carry out assignments in sign language. In each pair, one can hear everything and the other nothing or barely.

A team is eliminated every week. With the program, the broadcaster wants to build a bridge between all deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people in Dutch society.

role models

Mariën Hannink of the Dutch Federation of Parents of Deaf Children (FODOK) calls the program a good initiative. “The more such programs come, the better it is for deaf and hard-of-hearing children,” she tells the NOS. “The world gets bigger for them that way.”

She says she is happy with the growing interest in sign language. “I have every confidence in Irma Sluis,” she says. “I hope that deaf adults and young people are also involved as role models. Because if sign language is the first language you have learned, children see that it is very normal.”


Sluis considers it a great honor to be able to participate in the programme. “It’s so nice to see how enthusiastic, respectful and interested everyone is, in front of and behind the scenes,” she says. In addition to the program on NPO Zapp, KRO-NCRV also offers a basic sign language course online.

Sign interpreter Sluis became nationally known because she became a regular face at the cabinet’s corona press conferences. Especially the way they use the verb ‘the hamster‘ was widely shared on the internet.

Partly because of her performances, interest in the sign language interpreter training at the Hogeschool van Utrecht increased. A spokesperson for that school spoke of the ‘Irma effect’ last year.

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