Sign Language - A language everybody should learn.

 Sign Language - A language everybody should learn.

Sign Language - A language everybody should learn.

This has always baffled me, as the sister of someone with hearing loss, and now an aunt of someone with hearing loss, that sign language isn't taught as standard in schools.

At least it wasn't when I was at school.

We were taught Spanish, German and French, which is great if you are planning on traveling to those places, but why not sign language? We should be able to communicate with those who have hearing loss first and foremost as this is a language that is not only beautiful but necessary in life.  

Why would we, as a society, exclude those people when it comes to communication.

Have you ever been in a situation where you have tried to communicate with someone who is deaf? Wouldn't it be nice if we knew how to by being taught it from a young age so that it was just a natural language to us?

We are in a society today where we are being asked to accept different genders, sexuality, and a whole range of different identities from a young generation, but somehow seem to still be ignoring a community that has always been around. Schools are told it is not mandatory for them to teach sign language, but it is advisable for them to acknowledge how a person wishes to identify.  

When we are asked to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion in a classroom, surely this should include those that are deaf or hard of hearing.

Is there a universal sign language?

Unfortunately, there isn't a universal sign language as different countries developed their own sign language based on their own languages and culture.  BSL (British sign language), ASL ( American sign language), and Auslan (Australian sign language) are the most commonly known. 

Sign language was once banned in schools

In 1880 there was a multi-country conference. At this conference, it was decided that oral communication was better than manual or sign communication, and as a result sign language was banned in deaf schools. Instead, they insisted that lip reading would be the way forward.  It wasn't until 1970 that sign language was declared an official language after years of campaigning.  Read more on the history of sign language in the article 'The Milan Conference of 1880: When Sign Language was almost destroyed'

How to learn sign language

With the development of technology and phone apps, it is now easier than ever to learn.  Something you can do while sitting on the toilet if you wish to. No matter how and where you learn this language, it is something that everybody should try to do. Even if you just learn the alphabet in sign language, you are equipped to communicate with a deaf person. 

There are also multiple videos on YouTube that teach you sign language.

The following video teaches you the BSL alphabet. 

Learn the BSL Alphabet. 

This video teaches you the ASL alphabet.

Learn the ASL alphabet. 

This video teaches you the Auslan alphabet.

Learn the Auslan alphabet

Some other useful aids that I have used in the past include using flash cards such as those below.

There are also many online resources for free that will help you learn sign language including free sign language printables.

Do you know what this sign means?

Deaf awareness week in 2023 - 2nd to 8th May. Read more about Deaf Awareness Week 2023

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