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08.05.2020 | By Teresa Quail

Deaf Awareness Week sees free sign language classes launched for thousands of families

Posted in News

Readers may be interested in this NDCS press release.

Deaf Awareness Week sees free sign language classes launched for thousands of families across England

  • Free online British Sign Language classes are being offered to families across England to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week.
  • The videos will be released every Friday for 12 weeks.
  • Topics will include everything from colours and days of the week to communicating as a family.
  • The National Deaf Children’s Society is hoping to tackle loneliness and isolation during this “very challenging time for many deaf children and their families.”

Families across England will get the chance to learn British Sign Language in the comfort of their own homes with free online classes launched today (Friday, May 8th).

The series of classes will be run by the National Deaf Children’s Society every Friday for 12 weeks as part of its Family Sign Language programme. The date was picked to mark Deaf Awareness Week (May 4th-8th).

Each class will cover a different topic, including vocabulary and conversation related to family life so parents and children can learn together.

Classes are running in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with a different tutor for each, meaning families in England can learn specific English signs.

The first video will introduce the fingerspelling alphabet, while later videos will cover topics like items around the home, colours and days of the week.

All the content has been produced remotely as part of the charity’s effort to provide resources and support for the families of deaf children.

Families can tune in to the pre-recorded classes via the charity’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi6DvQHbWiFqcQuNabqMO6w

Carla Rose-Hardman, Family Programmes Manager at the National Deaf Children’s Society, said:

“These are very challenging times for families with deaf children and they can feel isolated and lonely if they’re struggling to communicate. These free classes aim to break through that, helping families to learn British Sign Language together in their homes and have some fun along the way.

“Many deaf children benefit from using sign language and when families learn together, it helps them to communicate and express and understand the complex feelings that are part of growing up.

“Family conversations, jokes and activities will also become much more inclusive, which boosts a deaf child’s confidence and wellbeing.

“We hope that everyone who takes part enjoys increasing their knowledge and expanding their British Sign Language vocabulary.”