Deaf Awareness Week 2011

Deaf Awareness Week 2011 is from Monday 2nd May – Sunday 8th May.

I work as a BSL communicator and have currently been working in the educational sector. I come across staff and students who are unsure of how to use a communicator to converse with a deaf person so here are a few tips:

  • Always involve the deaf person and talk directly to them. This may feel a bit strange as the deaf person may be watching the communicator for the signed translation of what you are saying.
  • Don’t say to the communicator “tell her…” it should be a three-way conversation, it does require some patience but stick with it.
  • Speak clearly and at a normal pace. Speaking too slowly or exaggerating will distort your lip patterns, making you more difficult to lipread.
  • Speak in full sentences. BSL has a different grammatical structure from English so the whole sentence needs to be heard before it can be translated. Don’t panic if the communicator does not start signing the moment you start speaking.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the communicator questions about how to improve communication.
Don’t worry if you “don’t get it right” the first time. There is usually a bit of confusion and communicators are used to that. Here is a funny video of classroom confusion (Interpreters and CSW’s enjoy!)

Deaf Awareness Week 2011

There are many ways to get involved whether it is donating to a charity or learning a bit of sign language. Below I have listed a few bits of information and websites.

Deaf Council

Deaf Council are the organisers of Deaf Awareness Week. The website explains a bit about the week, also has a list of events, facts about deafness and event ideas.


The RNID has a lip reading competition. Read the one and only Richard Wilson’s lips for the chance of winning a prize.

There is also an events list and a downloadable twibbon.

Learning Sign Language

You can look up signs easily online. Signstation is one of my favourite online dictionaries (you need to register to have full access, but have no fear this does not mean you will be “spammed” with countless emails).

British-Sign is a good resource to learn some basics including how to sign your name using the BSL fingerspelling alphabet.

If you’d prefer to buy a book Deaf Books has a large range to buy and some free downloadables too, including BSL font. Check out the Royal Wedding banner that teaches you to sign “Royal Wedding. Congratulations Wills and Kate” I can’t decide if it is cool or cringey!

However you decide to take part in Deaf Awareness Week have fun and feel free to leave a comment if you learn something new.

FaceTweet it!

One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on Stageandsign's Blog and commented:

    Deaf Awareness Week 2012 starts tomorrow. Have a look at the tips, links and videos I posted last year.


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