As part of Deaf Awareness Week 2022, we are looking at inclusion in education for deaf children and whether British Sign Language should be taught in schools.
Image: Birmingham Post and Courier)
This week is Deaf Awareness Week, each year the event has a different theme and the theme for 2022 is Deaf Inclusion.
This year’s Deaf Awareness Week will highlight the impact of hearing loss on everyday life and aims to increase the visibility and inclusion of Deaf people.
One aspect of inclusion that will receive attention is inclusion in education.
British Sign Language (BSL) was recognized as an official language almost two decades ago in 2003, but despite this it is still not part of the national curriculum.
As the language grows in popularity, with over 150,000 BSL users in the UK, there have been growing calls for sign language to be taught in schools.
Could sign language be part of the program?
Birmingham Post and Courier)
Many believe BSL should be taught in schools and several petitions to make BSL part of the national curriculum have received over 30,000 signatures.
But the government still hasn’t done anything about it, and in response to petitions they said: “BSL was recognized as a language in its own right by the UK government in 2003. Although it is not a part compulsory part of the curriculum, schools are free to teach it if they wish.
Although not part of the curriculum, some schools choose to teach BSL.
The Ivy Learning Trust, a group of ten primary schools in Enfield and South Hertfordshire, recently announced that they have made the decision to teach BSL in all of their schools after seeing the lessons have had a positive impact on children in Brimsdown Primary School.
Speaking on the benefits of learning BSL, Trust leader Matthew Kleiner-Mann said: “Many studies have shown the positive impact of learning sign language: it can improve vocabulary, fine motor skills and self-esteem, and has been linked to higher reading. age up to two years.
“We’ve seen evidence of these kinds of benefits firsthand at Brimsdown.”
Shocking disparities in support for deaf children
According to the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDC), there are over 50,000 deaf children and young people in the UK.
But NDC research found there are shocking disparities in support for deaf children across the UK, with 40 of the UK’s 150 councils no longer having specialist teaching units for deaf children .
The closure of specialist units for the deaf means that many deaf children are not getting the support they need. The NDC reports that 78% of deaf children attend mainstream schools, in which there is no specialized training.
And it’s not just educational support that’s important. Teaching BSL in schools fosters a more inclusive environment for deaf children in terms of relationships with their peers by opening up communication.
The benefits of learning sign language for children
Birmingham Post and Courier)
Sign language is not only used by children who are deaf or hard of hearing, it is also used by non-verbal children who may have conditions such as Down syndrome, autism, brain disorders, speech disorders speech, cerebral palsy or trauma.
In addition to this, learning sign language has positive effects that benefit all types of children, including hearing and verbal children.
Studies have shown that learning sign language can speed up speech development and reduce frustration in young children by giving them a way to express themselves.
Evidence also suggests that children want to learn BSL. In 2017, a National Deaf Children’s Society Youth Advisory Council report found that of 2,000 children surveyed, 97% said BSL should be taught in schools.