I grew up in the S.Wales Valleys. I was taught to sign the alphabet when I was very young by my wonderful Aunty Marion. I was recently at an event where I had a chat with a lovely Deaf man from Liverpool. I realised that I wanted to be able to speak more clearly and be able to understand the language better.
Upon starting this course I have realised just how much I recall from my Aunt's visits, and how much more I have to learn.
I shall be learning as much as I can before the next event in April
I'm the wrong side of 65, and it's a challenge - but who doesn't like a challenge?
My hearing is steadily getting much worse, particularly in my left ear, where I also have quite severe tinnitus. I didn't realise how much I was reliant on facial expressions and some form of basic, unconcious lip reading, until widespread mask-wearing made it obvious to me, and I became very isolated.
Although at my age I'll never become fluent in BSL, a little knowledge and some skill will be better than nothing.
I volunteer on the canal network - something I really enjoy - and it's somewhere BSL may well come in useful at some point.
So, for me it's a combination of the challenge, the hope of greater inclusion, and the potential practical application.
I'm not deaf or hard of hearing, but I'm a secondary school teacher with a number of children with varying hearing difficulties, and a father who wears hearing aids. I figure that as well as being fascinating to learn (I love learning new things), it's a skill that could be really beneficial to me too.