If you are the parent or primary carer of a child with hearing loss of any kind, we would like to invite you and your family to join us for Family BSL.
Once a month, throughout 2024, we will be bringing familes from Bedford together with their D/deaf and Hard of Hearing children aged 0 -6 years old, to meet with an experienced, Deaf tutor to explore BSL together.
You will learn useful, practical and frustration-busting tips and techniques for communicating with your child, as well as how to make them feel inlcuded at home, how to help encourage their speech development – plus, of course – you will learn basic BSL together, giving you a unique understanding of your child’s thoughts, feelings, interests and ideas.
If this FREE course sounds like something you and your family would be interested in, please complete the form here and we will be in touch in December to let you know if you have been accepted on to the course.
This projected has been funded entirely by the amazing people at Bedford Giving and we are eternally grateful to them for enabling us to provide support and community for the families of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children in Bedford.
Here’s Why It’s Important
Approximately 95% of D/deaf children are born to hearing parents who have never met a deaf person before and have no experience of using British Sign Language. The cost of learning even the basics of British Sign Language as a family is usually more than most families can afford, often starting at around £1,400 per family, and classes are usually aimed at adults with a very different set of language requirements to the average 1 year old!
This lack of early access to language (BSL in this case) puts a strain on whole families and can set a deaf child at a disadvantage for the rest of their life.
Mental Health Care
One in 4 people may struggle with mental health, but within the deaf community, this figure doubles to 1 in 2 people struggling, due to isolation and social exclusion.
By supporting hearing families to learn to communicate with their deaf children, we can make a huge difference to the mental wellbeing of a generation of deaf children in Bedford.
The classes we deliver will support hearing parents to learn to sign with their children, giving those children the early access to language that every child deserves. Findings in the British Association of Teacher Of the Deaf report summarise this need:
“Language deprivation has an impact on many other developmental outcomes, such as school readiness, literacy, academic performance, employment, emotional health, physical health, peer relationships, family relationships and identity (Hall & De Anda, 2020).
In relation to emotional health, 40% of deaf children have mental health issues compared to 25% of hearing children, and deaf children who have problems communicating with their families are four times more likely to have mental health issues (NDCS, 2017).”
A Sense Of Community
We already support a number of hearing families with Deaf children have seen the positive impact this has had on how those families feel about being a part of the Deaf community.
These families are no longer afraid to attend and take part in Deaf community events with their children. This allows their deaf children to see BSL users in everyday situations and the use of their first language, BSL, is normalised for them.
Families taking part in these activities tell us that this is a huge relief for them – that now understand that being deaf does not need to be a barrier to living a happy and fulfilled life. That there is music, poetry, love, sadness and laughter in BSL and that they feel a mental load has been lifted through becoming part of the Deaf community with our support.
We aim to offer this sense of relief to as many parents of deaf children as possible.