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

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Authored by Mary
Posted: Friday, May 8, 2020 - 12:56

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.”

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