Boost for BSL

Well, yesterday was a pretty dismal rainy bank holiday Monday in London. I spent much of the day wondering if the Eurovision results indicated that the prevalance of deafness in Europe was higher than anyone had ever previously suspected. I was badly looking for a silver lining to the clouds.

And I found it in this BBC news article where Lord Adonis announced more help for deaf children whose first language is British Sign Language (BSL). The BBC doesn’t quite give the whole background behind this story – as well as supporting deaf children in the classrooms with more communication support workers, the funding of nearly £1 million for a project on BSL will also help secure more sign language classes aimed at families.

It’s another good news campaign story for the NDCS and other deaf organisations and individuals, as it followed some sustained lobbying to promote BSL in the classroom and family life for all those children for which sign language is the appropriate communication option. It also follows a trip to Downing Street by NDCS and other deaf organisations to harass the big man himself. Here’s the family photo from that day out.

So what next? From my point of view, we now need to make sure the project for which funding has been provided delivers results that really make a difference to deaf children who sign and their families. We also need to make sure that families whose deaf children do not sign also get the communication support they need. And, of course, there are lots of deaf people out there who feel that the best way of raising the status of BSL is to push for a BSL Act that gives greater legal rights to BSL users.

What do you think? As always, grateful for your comments and thoughts.


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