Welsh Bac pupils urged to take challenge in Sign Language Week
13 March 2017
The National Deaf Children’s Society Cymru is urging pupils across Wales to take up a new signing challenge as part of Sign Language Week (13-19 March).
The charity has worked with WJEC to create a community challenge module within the Foundation Level Welsh Baccalaureate. Their ‘I Can Fingerspell!’ challenge asks pupils to learn the fingerspelling alphabet and share this knowledge with others.
Fingerspelling, in which hand movements represent letters, is a key part of British Sign Language (BSL).
Barry boys Ryan Payne, 16, and Leam Tucker, 17, who both attend St Cyres School in Penarth, created fingerspelling videos for those taking the challenge.
Ryan said: “Sometimes when people meet a deaf person who uses BSL, they don't know how to communicate with them and they panic or ignore them. If we can encourage people to learn some basic sign language it will be a good start.”
‘I Can Fingerspell!’ was developed after the charity’s Youth Advisory Board highlighted a lack of opportunities for young people, both hearing and deaf, to learn BSL.
Jayne Dulson, Director of the National Deaf Children’s Society Cymru, commented: “It is clear that many young people are keen to sign, so we are delighted to have worked on this new challenge with WJEC.
“The fingerspelling alphabet forms a crucial part of communication for all sign language users and is a great introduction to BSL.
“As part of our mission to create a world without barriers, we call on the Welsh Government to further improve opportunities to learn BSL.”
Vicki Pitman, Regional Support Officer for the Welsh Baccalaureate at WJEC, added: “We are delighted to have worked with NDCS Cymru on this important and exciting challenge.
“We hope that it will interest many of our learners and help to raise awareness of sign language.”
To find out more, go to ndcs.org.uk/Icanfingerspell.
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the National Deaf Children’s Society
• The National Deaf Children’s Society is the leading charity dedicated to creating a world without barriers for deaf children and their families.
• There are more than 45,000 deaf children in the UK. The National Deaf Children’s Society helps deaf children and young people thrive by providing impartial, practical and emotional support to them and their families, and by challenging governments and society to meet their needs.
• The National Deaf Children’s Society believes that every deaf child should be valued and included by society and have the same opportunities as any other child.
• For more information visit www.ndcs.org.uk. For further support, parents can contact the National Deaf Children’s Society Freephone Helpline on 0808 800 8880 (voice and text), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat online at www.ndcs.org.uk/livechat.
About British Sign Language
• There are around 250,000 British Sign Language (BSL) users in the UK.
• BSL is a language in its own right with its own grammatical structure and vocabulary. It was formally recognised as an official language in Wales in 2004.
• Many deaf people use Sign Supported English/Welsh, where signs are used alongside spoken language to assist communication.