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Why you should learn sign language

Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,680 Disability Gamechanger
Today, 23rd September, is International Day of Sign Languages. This has been marked by the United Nation with the aim to promote sign language. 
The International Day of Sign Languages is an unique opportunity to support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all deaf people and other sign language users. 

In 2020, the World Federation of the Deaf is issuing a Global Leaders Challenge

This challenge aims to promote the use of sign languages by local, national, and global leaders in partnership with national associations of deaf people in each country, as well as other deaf-led organisations.


Do you know sign language?

Despite only knowing the basics, I can't say I'm very good at British Sign Language (BSL). However, there have been numerous times where I have been able to help someone as a result of my limited knowledge.

Around 50,000 people in the UK use British Sign Language. Yet why isn't BSL taught in schools? With 97% of young people in support of BSL being a GCSE, it's surprising that this isn't the case.
BSL was recognised as a language in its own right by the UK government in 2003.

Whilst it is not a mandatory part of the curriculum, schools are free to teach it if they choose to do so.

We recognise and acknowledge that British Sign Language can be a beneficial subject that schools can choose to teach.
However, in 2018 there was breakthrough in the Right to Sign campaign, with the government agreeing that BSL would be a GCSE before 2022. So I guess we will have to wait and see!

Where can I learn sign language?

There are actually a lot of ways that you can learn BSL online or through a course. Here are some of the ways you can pick up the basics:

Do you have any experiences to share? Should everyone be taught sign language? What sign will you learn today? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Replies

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,747 Disability Gamechanger
    I'd love to learn sign language! I wish we'd learnt it in school. Thanks for linking the resources :) 
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  • willow12willow12 Member Posts: 280 Pioneering
    I learnt sign language when 1 of my sons was about 3 as he has downs syndrome so I could communicate with him 
  • willow12willow12 Member Posts: 280 Pioneering
    Makaton sign language classes I took I really enjoyed it 
  • Parrot123Parrot123 Member Posts: 137 Pioneering
    I'd love to learn sign language! I wish we'd learnt it in school. Thanks for linking the resources :) 
    @Tori_Scope I have been looking online for a course. I learned makaton. From a wee boy with Autism but it was his own version. Is it free?? Ty😊 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Community Team Posts: 2,747 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Parrot123! The Introducing BSL course that Chloe linked is currently 'pay what you can', as they appreciate that a lot of people are struggling with money at the moment. You can also use the other resources linked at the bottom of the post to learn words and phrases for free :) I hope that helps? Or were you looking for a free Makaton course? 
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  • willow12willow12 Member Posts: 280 Pioneering
    I done my makaton course free of charge at our local sure start centre it was 6 week course that was years ago 
  • roberttaylor570roberttaylor570 Member Posts: 568 Pioneering
    I once held a School Governor post at a school for the deaf.  One day during "circle time", one of the pupils asked if I would like to learn sign language so they could talk to me more easily.  I had to explain I had poor sight and as much as I would love to learn it, I would not be able to see what they were signing to me.  That one exchange brought a greater understanding of each other's needs and capabilities.  

    I agree it would be a useful aid for most people to have and would make us all better together.
  • DereshaDeresha Member Posts: 28 Connected
    Makaton was my sons first language, as he had no voice. He can talk now but still signs too.  He’s 9 years old and has just started learning BSL too.  He’s a natural. We have sign only hours as part of our home education day. The bsl dictionary is open on the iPad for the hour if we need it, it’s good fun and makes you think.
    Widow/Mum to a child who is ventilator dependent via tracheostomy, he is deaf and autistic, and homeschooled.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 1,922 Pioneering
    Thanks for sharing @Deresha, that's fantastic :) I'm glad your son is doing so well, is he enjoying learning it?  

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  • DereshaDeresha Member Posts: 28 Connected
    @Ross_Scope hi yes very much so. If sign-only hours follow his booooring English lessons he flies through them. Maybe we will give sign only English lessons a go. Haha.
    Widow/Mum to a child who is ventilator dependent via tracheostomy, he is deaf and autistic, and homeschooled.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Community Team Posts: 1,922 Pioneering
    I'm glad he is enjoying it @Deresha, it will be a great skill for him to have.
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  • WestHam06WestHam06 Community champion, Scope Volunteer Posts: 1,027 Pioneering
    Hi @Chloe_Scope
                                   Thank you for sharing this, I wish we had had the opportunity to learn BSL at school. I have just started to learn the basics as I hope that this will enable me to help others. Thank you.
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,680 Disability Gamechanger
    I hope it's going okay @WestHam06! It's always something I knew more of.
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