Last night I started on a thirty week course to learn British Sign Language or BSL for short.
As regular followers of this blog will know both Keighley and Leo have a hearing loss and although Keighley lip reads Leo is still young enough to need the extra assistance to communicate with other people. Following a point around last Christmas where Leo wanted something and couldn’t communicate what it was which led to him having a melt down and our realisation that he needed another form of communication beyond speech.
After the melt down we decided that we were going to teach Leo some basic sign language signs that he would need and be able to use, things like Please, Thank You, Eat, Drink, Milk, More and a few more. Over the last few months we have added some signs to his vocabulary and his speech has come on a little as a result of us using the same signs on a daily basis.
While we have been learning basic signs with Leo it led Keighley and I to develop a bigger interest in learning more of this language form. This led to us attending a taster session back in May and then myself enrolling on the course that I started last night.
Last night we did all the introductions and stuff that people do on a first lesson and then we went on to learn the Alphabet through finger spelling and I can now spell a whole host of words via finger spelling, including my name, kids and wifes name and place where I live. I had a really enjoyable time and learnt a lot and I am looking forward to next weeks lesson.
I have often spoken about Leo’s hearing loss and where we are within his journey. One thing I have never written about though is the fact that since Christmas, we’ve all been learning BSL (British Sign Language) to help Leo communicate his wants and needs. It will also come in handy when he has his operation for Cochlear Implants and after he operation he will spend around four weeks with little to no hearing at all.
Following a melt down by Leo just before Christmas when he really wanted something but couldn’t, no matter how hard he tried, to communicate with us what he wanted Keighley and I made the decision to start learning and teaching Leo some basis sign language.
We’ve learnt quite a few words in a relatively short period of time. As is the norm with kids he has picked it up a lot quicker then we have.
We have been using various resources including a book lent to us by his Play Therapist. The biggest resource we’ve used though is the BSL Website which has images of words with the hand movements shown. We have also used various videos from YouTube as well.
Between us we have learnt words such as mummy, daddy, please, thank you, eat, drink, dinner, Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, sorry and many more.
We’ve found that a combination of using the sign whilst saying the word at the same time has helped Leo to start saying certain words, which is fantastic.
Keighley and myself are attending a taster session for a course this coming Saturday and we are looking forward to it. I will let you know what we learn.
To learn more about BSL click here