There are over 50,000 deaf children across the UK, over 90% of whom are born to hearing parents with no knowledge of sign language.

Babies start to develop language from birth. Early language acquisition is essential for a child’s development and wellbeing, yet access to sign language is limited, patchy and expensive.

We believe that offering access to signing and spoken language mitigates the risk of deaf children becoming language deprived. We believe that with the right access to language, there's no limit to what a deaf child can achieve.

Our Position Statement - Summary: (BSL) (PDF)
Our Position Statement - Full: (BSL) (PDF)

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We demand a world where every deaf child has the language to share their hopes, dreams, fears and ideas. We want British Sign Language in the hands of those who need it most.

There are over 50,000 deaf children across the UK, over 90% of whom are born to hearing parents with no knowledge of sign language.

Babies start to develop language from birth. Early language acquisition is essential for a child’s development and wellbeing, yet access to sign language is limited, patchy and expensive.

We believe that offering access to signing and spoken language mitigates the risk of deaf children becoming language deprived. We believe that with the right access to language, there's no limit to what a deaf child can achieve.

Share your handprints

Show your support for the campaign by posting a picture of your handprints, demanding governments give every deaf child and their families free access to sign language, with #BSLInOurHands

How can you help?

Tell your MP to support our campaign to give every deaf child and their families free access to British Sign Language.

1.


We want the Government to fund free access to sign language to the families of all newly identified deaf children.

2.


We want the very best standards of teaching. This means fluent teachers, with increasing numbers of Deaf and native signers.

3.


We want to see these changes rolled out across the UK.

The critical period is a brief time window, usually between the ages of 0 and 5 years, where the brain needs good quality language input. If children do not have the opportunity to learn language within the first five years of their lives, they usually never develop fluent language skills. The critical period also applies to sign languages. Often, deaf children do not have full access to language during the critical period. This is known as ‘language deprivation’.

Dr Kate Rowley, DCAL
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Parental Journeys

Tilly and Katie share their heartfelt experiences and the unique challenges they've faced raising Deaf children.

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Navigating BSL Challenges

Mothers Tilly and Katie discuss the barriers they encountered in securing access to BSL for their children.

It’s so part of me. I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s so empowering when I was finally able to accept that in my life. Even now, I feel that I use my Deafness as a liberating aspect.

Young Deaf Person

The change we want to see:

1.


We need Government policies to include signing in Early Years planning, reinforcing the importance of linguistic and cultural enrichment from the earliest stages of a deaf child’s life.

2.


The Government needs to fund to sign tuition for parents and caregivers of deaf children, recognising they should not bear the financial burden of communication with their own children.

3.


We need training and employment of Deaf professionals, including Deaf Teachers of the Deaf, to work with deaf children, their families and their caregivers, recognising the value of having Deaf educators who can provide language guidance and positive role models for deaf children.

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Spread the word and show your support

Every person who supports our campaign moves us closer to a world where every deaf child has the opportunity to thrive. Make sure to include #BSLInOurHands

Share your handprints

Show your support for the campaign by posting a picture of your handprints, demanding governments give every deaf child and their families free access to sign language, with #BSLInOurHands

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Support this campaign and our wider work.

Any amount you can contribute really does make a huge difference.

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Get in touch

If you would like to learn more about the BSL in our Hands campaign or the British Deaf Association, please get in touch with us at bda@bda.org.uk