“Deaf people can do anything that hearing people can do…except hear.”

Freya is  a 6th form student at Bournemouth School for Girls (BSG) who we had the pleasure of working with to achieve her 101 BSL qualification.  She has set up her own BSL Lunch Club at the school for all year groups to practice and develop their own skills in using Sign Language, with continued support from WDDA, for those who want to pursue a qualification.   She is a wonderful ambassador and role model for deaf and hearing students alike.  Read her inspiring message below:

My Advice to Those like Me:

There is a quote by Frederick C. Schreiber that says “deaf people can do anything that hearing people can do…except hear”.  This has always been an important reminder to me that no matter what happens to my hearing, I can still achieve what I wish to.  I look at myself now, and I am Deputy Head Girl at my School, I represent Dorset on the NCS Regional Youth board, I volunteer with various groups, I passed my GCSE’s and am now onto my A levels, and not once did my hearing get in the way of that.  So if anybody ever tells you that there is something you can’t do because of your hearing, my best advice would be, ignore them, push past them and prove them wrong, because they have no idea what they are talking about.  Only you can decide where you want to go with your life.  Your body consists of 206 bones, over 600 muscles, 11 organ systems and 37.2 trillion cells.  You are made up of so much more than just your ears, so in no way will your hearing define who you are or who you want to be unless you want it to.  Embrace yourself, ears and all, because there is only one version of you out there, and it is the most perfect one there is.

– Freya Pretty

Our ‘Sign for Change’ programme aims to introduce 600 children and young people in Dorset to British Sign Language (BSL) each year.  On a wider level we anticipate that our work within local Nursery and Primary Schools will have a hugely positive impact on the local community as our deaf awareness training helps to break down the barriers to communication faced by pupils who are deaf or have a hearing loss and create a more inclusive environment within your educational setting.  We already have a proven track record of successfully delivering deaf awareness courses and teaching BSL at secondary level at Bournemouth School for Girls and Twynham School and, more recently, at primary level at Talbot Heath School.

Equipping children and young people with the knowledge and skills to be able to communicate with deaf friends also increases self-esteem, provides a foundation for developing sign language skills in the future as they start to think about further education and career paths and, most importantly, helps to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness.

To give you an idea of the costs involved to introduce the ‘Sign for Change’ programme – £160 will give 20 of your pupils access to 4 hours (delivered over 4 weeks) of deaf awareness and communication training, specifically tailored to their age group.  This works out at just £8 per pupil or £2 per pupil, per week.  We are able to deliver sessions flexibly to fit around your curriculum and other activities so if you would like us to deliver sessions in an alternative format please just let us know.

Upon completion of the ‘Sign for Change’ programme pupils will be able to converse with a signer they have met for the first time using a range of everyday terms and vocabulary to exchange personal details, modes of transport, family, food and drink, calendar, time, weather and clothes.   They will be practiced in rules of basic grammar and structure of British Sign Language and be prepared for studies in further topics.

If you would like to find out more about how our ‘Sign for Change’ programme can form part of your school’s enrichment programme and/or to discuss the possibility of WDDA facilitating a fun, educational and inclusive after school club please contact Zoe at admin@wdda.co.uk

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  1. Deborah Banks

    My name is Deborah Banks, I’m a youth leader from St John ambulance cadets. We are looking for a representative who would be happy to join us on a Monday evening to help us further our sign language studies. We are based at Discovery Court on Wallis down road Poole our session is from 6.30-9pm my mobile number is 07711575104
    Thank you for your time.
    Deborah 🙂

    • Thank you for getting in touch Deborah. I’m sure this is something we can support you with. I will be in touch again later in the week once I have checked tutor availability. Best wishes, Zoe – WDDA Administrator

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