Staff Tess took a BSL British Sign Language Course to widen her skills and provide extra support to our adults with learning disabilities
What is BSL British Sign Language?
We’ll start this blog by explaining what British Sign Language is. British Sign Language (BSL for short), is a communication tool used by and for people with hearing loss (partial or complete), or who are deaf. British Sign Language is not actually a language, but instead uses gestures, facial expressions, and body language (signs). Interestingly, BSL signs only work when combined with facial expressions. In the UK, around 150,000 Deaf adults and children use BSL and 70,000 use it as their preferred way to communicate .
What is a British Sign Language Course?
British Sign Language courses, or BSL courses, teach individuals everything there is to know about BSL including how to sign, the structure of BSL, and its origins. The courses range from beginners to level 1, all the way up to level 6. They can be taken in-person nationwide or online. If you live in Hull/East Riding of Yorkshire, the closest centres to us are Wakefield and Leeds. You can access a short course at the Hull Training and Adult Education Centre (HU5 4DA).
Tess’s experience: Beginner’s BSL British Sign Language Course
“Tess here! I recently completed a BSL short course at the Hull Training and Adult Education Centre.
I attended for 6 weeks and my tutor was called Ben Stonehouse… he is a brilliant tutor and is Deaf himself.
“The course was an Introduction to BSL and deaf awareness. Over the weeks I learned many signs and watched numerous videos as homework to help with the class sessions (search “Commanding Hands” on YouTube if you want to view them!).
“The sessions enabled me to correctly sign colours, clothing, family, and places whilst having a conversation in BSL with another person. I met a lot of like-minded people on my course who were lovely!
“If you do book onto in I’m almost certain you will have as much fun as I did.
British Sign Language Course Level 1
Tess is progressing in British Sign Language: Course Level 1 is the next step. It’s not all work: on Thursdays, the members meet for a drink with the Deaf Society.
If anyone wishes to learn more about BSL and courses in sign language, please email Ben at email@example.com or call The Avenues Training and Adult Education Centre on 0142 615349.
Quick facts about British Sign Language (BSL)
- British Sign Language Week is celebrated 13th-19th
- 1 in 7 of the UK population has a hearing loss.
- BSL users are hearing impaired (hearing is affected partially or totally), hard of hearing (a gradual loss due to age), and finally Usher Syndrome (deafblind) who are both Deaf and blind/partially sighted.
- The first historical mention of BSL is a record of a wedding ceremony conducted partially in sign language in Leicester, 1576. Wow, that’s a long time ago! The groom, Thomas Tillsye, was Deaf.
- Historically, sign language was also known as `finger spelling`.