British Sign Language

We celebrated Deaf Awareness Week with a wonderful presentation entitled ‘Love and Trust’ by Sian Cooley (president of Teddington WI) who inspired us by describing her years as a teacher of the deaf in Wandsworth schools. She talked about the challenges facing the deaf community, but also told us about many students she had worked with who had gone on to fulfilling careers in teaching, the law, and the aviation industry. She described the many ways of communicating with deaf people, including British Sign Language (BSL) and told us that every country had its own sign language, so learning BSL was equivalent to learning a whole new language. Sian’s presentation included a few short videos with top tips for communicating with the deaf. We were then encouraged to learn how to finger-spell the BSL alphabet and within a short time we were all spelling out our names! The evening finished with a rendition of ‘Lean on Me’, with everyone joining in using our new found BSL skills!”