:: Podcasts A Sign Of The Times (from This Is Lancashire) ::

Podcasts A Sign Of The Times

Podcasts a sign of the times

podcast.504526.full.jpgA SIGN language school is using free iPod video downloads to encourage people to talk to the deaf.

The School of Sign Language, Bolton Road, Blackburn, came up with the idea in a bid to break down barriers and encourage communication between the hearing and deaf communities.

The eight videos have been uploaded onto its website in time for Deaf Awareness week from May 7.

They include the alphabet, greetings such as hello’, goodbye’, thank you’ and goodnight’, colours and numbers.

According to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People, there are nine million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK and of those 50,000 communicate using British Sign Language.

There are believed to be around 1,650 people communicating using BSL in the Blackburn area.

Managing director Debbie Reynolds is hard of hearing and BSL is her second language.

She said: “I set up the school about 12 months ago and the everything has rocketed since then. We are always trying to find new and innovative ways to bring sign language into the mainstream.

“It is very difficult to learn sign language from a book or pictures and download-able videos of sign language offer a solution to this.

“The videos are at a basic level and enable people to spell their names when it is downloaded onto a video iPod or onto a computer.

“They can be rewinded as many times as necessary until a sign has been learnt and can be fast forwarded to signs which maybe take a little more time to grasp.

“This is not about making money, I am hard of hearing myself and face many barriers. I can speak but I can’t hear without using hearing aids.

“I am hoping that we can put together a series of videos that can be downloaded for free on the website in the future too.”

Karen Lund, 27, from Blackburn, can hear and is learning BSL. She said: “I wish I had this when I started learning, I would be able to practise in my own time and it makes learning a lot easier. An iPod is portable and has made a fun item into a learning aid.”

Habib Hussain, 28, from Blackburn, is deaf. He said: “It is a great idea so more people can learn and be involved in sign language.”

Peter McConville, 26, managing director of Maxiwebs, in Brooklands Terrace, Little Harwood, Blackburn, who produced the videos and uploaded them onto the school of sign language website, said: “It is a brilliant idea, I am learning sign language at the moment. I have a video iPod and during my 30-minute walk to the School of Sign Language did some extra revision on the way.”

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