The National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) is campaigning to get the UK government to provide better access to sign language courses for hearing parents of deaf children.
Nine out of ten deaf children are born to hearing families who have little to no experience of deafness. Communicating with your child is a basic right, but many families are not getting the support they need to learn British Sign Language. Sign language courses vary throughout the UK in regards to availability and price. It is unacceptable that parents of deaf children who wish to learn sign language are not getting the help they need to communicate with their child.
A survey run by NDCS in mid-2011 and found that 56% of local councils did not provide any services or support for parents of deaf children wanting to learn sign language, and those that did often required parents to pay for the course – which can cost up to £600.
A sign language course, developed by NDCS, was trialled in two regions in the UK in July 2011 and 83% of the 123 families who took part reported that they felt confident communicating with their deaf child, compared to 37% prior to the course. The hope is that the government can be persuaded to provide this course to families across the whole of the UK.
Want to help? If you would like to see UK-wide support for families of deaf kids then please sign the online petition.