Hi, my name is Damian.
I'm currently doing the 'Introducing British Sign Language Online' course with british-sign.co.uk
I was intrigued by sign language for some time. I am a very visual, physically expressive person by nature.
We had a small introduction to makaton for one of the service users with my previous employer a few years ago, and I became certain I wanted to learn more sign language. However, I ended up rarely supporting the woman in question and what I had learned dwindled to about half the alphabet.
One year ago I began supporting a young man who is autistic and non-verbal, using BSL. I see him four or five times a week and I am loving the focus and commitment he has given me. Sure, he will type things on his phone and hold it right up to my face occasionally if need be, or we might use some paper to discuss or draw about something but it feels vital to not depend on that (especially the phone!). Now he trusts me more, he can turn to me for reassurance more readily, he can see I am really trying to learn and is much more patient, teaching me different signs every day. This is now the most satisfying support role I have ever had!
As fantastic as it is, for my signing progress now I would dearly love to find others to practise with who have patience for more conversation with perhaps more expressive 'non-manual' dynamics, because my gentleman's autistic traits do sometimes limit his concentration and range of emotional expression.
Let me know anyone around southeast, cambridge/london area...?