Sharing Darren's story for #SignLanguageWeek
Date: 17 March 2023
This week is Sign Language Week, an exciting national campaign that is led by the British Deaf Association (BDA).
Darren, one of our CallEEAST contact centre supervisors, has known British Sign Language (BSL) for over 30 years!
He's shared with us his experience of learning BSL and why he feels it is important for everyone to learn:
"I first decided to learn sign language back in 1990 while working as a welfare assistant at a local school. We had a student with autism who used Makaton as their communication method. After learning a few Makaton signs, I decided that I wanted to learn BSL. I completed and passed level 1 BSL that year and went on to complete level 2 the following year.
Soon after completing level 2, I went on to work as a BSL communication support worker in and around the Norwich area mainly supporting Deaf people within education. I then also started work at Rotary House, a purpose built complex in Norwich which provides accommodation for people with hearing impairments.
In the summer of 2000, I started work at Medicom for East of England Ambulance Service while still continuing to support the Deaf community, and in 2012 I went on to study BSL at degree level and received and NVQ level 6 in British sign language. Later this year I am hoping to further my education and achieve a diploma in sign language interpreting.
Learning sign language has enabled me to be a part of a whole other community, one in which I would otherwise not have been a part of. I have made so true lifelong friends met some incredible, talented people throughout my journey, both hearing and deaf and am honoured to be a part of the community.
In a time where we promote, advocate, and celebrate inclusivity for everyone, I would actively encourage everyone to learn sign language. BSL truly is a beautiful and rich visual spatial language. It has its own grammar and syntax and is a fully recognised language within its own right. Just like spoken language it has its own regional variations and colloquialisms, and just like spoken English, uses idioms, metaphors, and similes."
Throughout Sign Language Week, EEAST has been sharing a ‘sign of the day’ on social media, which you can follow on the links below:
- Facebook – East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust
- Twitter – @EastEnglandAmb
- Instagram - @EastEnglandAmb
You can also find out more information about Sign Language Week on the organisations website here.
This week is Sign Language Week, an exciting national campaign that is led by the British Deaf Association (BDA). Darren is sharing his experiences of learning BSL, and why it's important to be inclusive.