It is Deaf Awareness Week from 7th to 13th May 2012. People are often think Sign2Music is an organisation solely for deaf children. Most of our service users are in fact hearing children and their families, carers and educators.
We do work alongside groups that support deaf children and this would be a good week to highlight some of these groups:
The National Deaf Children Society (NDCS) in N Ireland provide a variety of great services for deaf children and their families. If you have a deaf child please do check out the services they offer.
Sign2Music supports NDCS, delivering sessions for many of their events. Alison (our teacher in Bangor / Ards) works as an NDCS volunteer also. I will be facilitating a session for parents and a Sign and Sing session for children on Sunday 13th May at Jordanstown School for the Communication is Fun event. I also was invited to a super fun day on Mon 7th May organised by a new group called Sound Friends Deaf Children's Society. This is a local group in Portadown, run by parents and carers of deaf children. There are also similar groups in other areas
The British Deaf Association (BDA) is the largest UK Deaf-led organisation. BDA represents the British Sign Language community and promotes British Sign Language, Deaf Culture and Deaf Identity The BDA works to promote equal rights for and to stop discrimination against Sign Language users.
Sign2Music took part in successful events with the BDA for Belfast Culture Night 2010 and 2011, promoting sign language and Deaf culture.
Sign2Music programmes do not use sign language per se, but vocabulary or signs taken from sign language (British Sign Language, NI Regional Signs), used alongside speech. We endeavour to ensure that the signs we use are accurate regional signs. We have a huge respect for the Deaf community and the beautiful language we have borrowed from them. We promote and encourage our teachers and service users to learn sign language through local colleges, etc. Many parents who have attended our classes have undertaken BSL qualifications, Stage 1, 2 and even 3! Some of our teachers had no previous sign language training and had to undertake this training to enable them to practice as a Sign2Music teacher. While the basic requirement is Stage 1, some of our teachers developed such a love for the language that they have gone on to do Stage 2 and 3!
Other organisations include:
Signature promotes excellence in communication with deaf and deafblind people. They are an awarding body providing a range of qualifications through accredited centres in sign language and communication. http://www.signature.org.uk
Action on Hearing Loss is the new name for RNID (Royal National Institute for the Deaf). They help those who are deaf or have a hearing loss access
services, receive equipment, care and support. http://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/about-us/northern-ireland.aspx
If you know of any other organisations in Northern Ireland that support deaf children please leave a comment.