Don’t learn a foreign language – learn a British one! BSL is recognised as a native minority language in the UK such as Gaelic or Welsh, and there are approximately 1 million deaf people in the UK, of which 45,000 are children.
Some Scary Statistics:
Decades of ‘zero government support’ for (BSL) has created a national crisis. Deaf children have parents that cannot sign; schools with Hearing Impaired Units cannot find staff with signing skills; ditto for the charities that work in the social care sectors caring for the deaf in our community such as RNID, Action on Hearing Loss, The Royal Association forDeafPeople (RAD).
Shockingly, there are now only 1,000 qualified BSL interpreters for the whole of the UK.
This has left a massive communications ‘hole’ and is creating damaging barriers for deaf people. Few hearing people are able to communicate with the deaf – even at a basic level. This also comes at a time where Deaf Schools and Deaf Clubs are being closed down.
Many deaf people now lead lonely isolated lives with little or no human interaction with their hearing neighbours.
There is a shortage of organisations that teach BSL in the South East. This geographical pocket suffers unduly; not only with recruitment issues but in the wider teaching of family members of deaf children. Imagine visiting your family and sitting in the corner because no one can talk to you……..unthinkable for a hearing person, but for deaf children all too common.
Also, people are reticent about signing up for a Sign Language course as they think it is too expensive. Any language course which lasts for an academic year is costly, but the hourly breakdown is £6 per hour. Less than the average yoga class. Sadly, a number of colleges had to cancel their courses this year as not enough students enrolled – although the French, Spanish and German GCSE classes still ran – at the same cost.
Dot Sign is a community-serving ‘not-for-profit’ organisation, devoted to raising Deaf Awareness and the learning of British Sign Language. Dot Sign strive to create community links, particularly involving young people who are often seeing a deaf person and BSL for the first time. They can attend School assemblies or Scout Groups for Question and Answer sessions, where children take away a positive message about deafness. This exposure means that they are then less likely to ‘recoil or avoid’ speaking to deaf people which, sadly, is often the case with adults.
Don’t learn a foreign language – learn a British one!
There are currently Taster sessions running in Guildford and Woking and a new BSL Level 1 course starting in February 2017.
To find out more please go tohttp://www.dotsignlanguage.co.uk/course/bsl-taster-sessions.