International Week of the Deaf – Sign Language Rights for all Senior Citizens

I learnt sign language at school in April 1936 before the war broke out in 1939, everyone was signing. In the old days, sign language relied a lot more on fingerspelling and there wouldn’t have been as many ‘signs’ like there are now. Sign Language is very very very important. Everything was spelt out and I grew up with this so it’s second nature to me but not everyone copes with that much fingerspelling. I’m comfortable using both the old way, and new way. It’s so important that deaf and hearing people are seen as equals. Growing up, I used different forms of sign language at home, and when I was with my friends, socialising. In that sense, I suppose I grew up with two languages. I would sign one way at home with my family and differently when at school. Deaf people and hearing people live in the same world we need to know how to communicate with each other. Whether it’s in a shop or where ever. Sign Language for communication is so important, it allows us to converse, discuss and connect. Sign language is very good. When I was small, I might have been about 2 and a half I started school and I couldn’t sign at all. I didn’t really know what was going on or where I was or that I was Deaf! I watched everything and started to become more familiar with everything. When I moved from junior school to primary school, my understanding improved and I started to pick up and learn Sign Language. I loved school, I was really happy there. I rarely went home because my friends were like my brothers and sisters. I was so happy. I was at that school from the age of 2 and a half and I left when I was 18. I was so emotional that I cried. I went on to get married …I’m getting emotional now. My 2 daughters were brought up with sign language. I’m so lucky they both can sign, we communicate well I’m so proud of them. My grandson, Seb, is starting to sign too. and signs things like, ‘toilet, water, no, hungry.’ We’ve also recently had a new addition to the family but we haven’t been able to teach them sign yet. The baby is only one week old! It’s through communication, that we are able to learn and gain knowledge and to be aware of what is going on in the world around us. With Sign Language, we can have access to that. It’s very very very important. Absolutely. Definitely, I think a BSL GCSE would be a great benefit to the Deaf community, but it would also be a benefit to the hearing community. I teach sign language and my hearing students are so enthusiastic to learn the language which is a sure sign of equality. Hopefully now, this can be taught across schools. BDA need to campaign for a BSL GCSE. Fingers crossed. Sign language plays a huge role in equality. Deaf people are always the ones having to adapt to society, but why shouldn’t hearing people learn sign language? That way we’d all be able to communicate and we’d all be equal. It’s that communication that’s important. We’re living in the 21st Century and everyone should learn BSL. Sign Language is IMPORTANT. It’s the 21st Century – come on! Sign language rights for all. Sign language is a right, that allows people to understand one another. BSL, Sign Language rights for all for Deaf and hearing people in school classes. Sign Language is a right for everyone in the world.

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