British Sign Language

Deaf children and young people who need to develop signing skills will be taught British Sign Language (BSL) in their education setting, or at home prior to starting school.

A day in the life of a Sign Language Instructor

Parents, family members, or friends may also need opportunities to learn and develop their signing skills in order to communicate effectively with deaf children. Sometimes this can happen alongside the child’s own learning. For example, where preschool children are being taught signing at home by our Sign Language Instructors, or at CHIPS (our ‘Play and Stay’ sessions), their parents will also be involved; where a child/young person attends an enhanced provision for pupils with hearing impairment, then the school may include families in some wider training opportunities.

Useful Websites

There are some free online training resources available: Online BSL training

Adult Community Learning (ACL) provides locally-based BSL courses, at all levels, across Essex. Use the search facility to find the course most appropriate for you.

The Signature website offers a course facility to enable you to find a BSL course near you. Signature is the regulatory body for taught BSL courses. Signature also provides BSL Homework for those learning BSL who need extra practice, and preparation for assessment.

Family Sign Language (FSL) is a curriculum aimed at families of young deaf children to learn basic BSL and support communication and language development. FSL offers a practical, interactive website which includes a dictionary of common signs and phrases, with real life families showing how to use signing in everyday life.

Signed stories – Signed stories help to improve the literacy of deaf children and to let them share the joy of storytelling. Hundreds of children’s stories are accessible in BSL, animation, pictures, text and sound, to create a shared experience, and a useful classroom resource.

Tina Holmes Interpreting Services – THIS (BSL) – NRCPD registered, qualified British Sign Language/English Interpreter and Lipspeaker, providing BSL/SSE support for profoundly deaf people who choose sign language as their preferred first language and lipspeaking communication support for hard of hearing people who do not sign and prefer to lip read.

Association of Lipspeakers – A Lipspeaker can assist you for anything that requires communication support, such as GP/hospital appointments. An NRCPD lipspeaker is a professional hearing person trained to repeat a speakers message accurately, using clear communication techniques, either with or without voice.  If requested, some lipspeakers can also offer sign support. Search the website to find a lipspeaker in your local area.