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Communication is at the heart of Family life and yet for some children this cannot be taken for granted.
Language and culture are usually passed down from one generation to the next but most children who are born deaf are born to hearing parents who may have no prior knowledge or understanding of deafness or sign language (approx. 90%).
The importance of language development in the early years cannot be overstated and deaf
children in particular need all available language options, including the opportunity for bilingualism in British Sign Language (BSL) and English, at the earliest opportunity to minimise the risk of language deprivation.
We are not born with language but we are born with the innate capacity to acquire it, as can be witnessed in young children making the most spectacular progress in building their own constructions and producing for themselves a language that has not been ‘taught’ to them but which they are able to acquire effortlessly for themselves by exposure to it.
Hearing parents wishing to learn BSL to communicate with their child face learning a new language in a different modality in order to provide a language environment in which their child can interact and be able to acquire with ease.
This exciting prospect requires support, reassurance and encouragement, not only from the relevant professionals, but also from the opportunity to meet other children and families in family signing classes where there will also be the potential for contact with native sign language users and adult role models invaluable to young signers’ identity.
The Let’s Sign BSL series of dictionaries, guides, flashcards, posters and reward stickers are designed to support such face-to-face teaching and learning by providing a ready reference to revise what has been learned in class and also to provide a useful aid when classes are difficult to access.
DeafBooks also has a sizeable following on Twitter – Let’s Sign @DeafBooks
and FaceBook –DeafBooks
with many free shared images and resources.
Families also use these pages to post their own images of how they are using the Let’s Sign resources with their families in the home environment and there have been some unexpected and lovely ones……
Along with feedback on the value they have found in such resources….
And examples where families unexpectedly came across our graphics at the Zoo…..
And in local schools and nurseries……
and even in the park….
But my favourite came straight out of the blue on World Book Day when these delightful pictures were posted of young Florence who looks as though she’s having a whale of a time and inventively dressed as the Signing Book Fairy….