A personal perspective on growing up without BSL.

As a child, there was no access to Sign Language in school like we ‘can’ have these days. I remember the system forcing me to try and lipread a language I didn’t know or understand. Imagine yourself, in a foreign country, lipreading and being expected to understand. It was exhausting. My access to information was limited and my brain was overworked trying to join the dots and fill in the gaps. That was my childhood, at school and socially.

It was only when I was considerably older at the age of 19 that I had the opportunity to go to Doncaster College for the Deaf, leave the sleepy hollow of Norfolk, and see a bigger world. Then onwards to Sheffield Hallam University where I socialised with a group of Deaf students. In this bigger world I found the language of my heart, British Sign Language. I met other people like myself, but they were fluent and confident in language, quickly I made many friends from across the whole of the UK and my world view was completely different and richer. The bond I had with these friends was instantaneous; stronger than blood and has lasted a lifetime.

Look where I am now, running my own business and a successful tutor.

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