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Simon (admin)

BSL for mentally disabled children

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This is a big topic but has anyone considered the use of British Sign Language for the mentally disabled? This is not a naive question. I’ve looked at all the signing systems (see my blog at http://rubinstein-taybisyndrome.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/the-colours-of-english-language-sign.html) and wondered what happens when your child reaches the age of 18 and still can’t talk but has learnt Makaton (in England) or Signalong (in Wales) but nobody they know outside their immediate circle knows how to sign. Who do they communicate with? If they knew BSL then they could find an existing adult community of signers in the deaf community. Do you see my point? This is an issue that is being ignored at present from what I can see. PS. I know Makaton and Signalong have English grammar and BSL has a native and different grammar but that’s simply a matter or learning two languages – something that mentally disabled children can do, in many cases, anyway. It’s not a reason for not learning BSL.

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Hi Edward, I just wanted to say I have read this and wanted to acknowledge that, but I am not really clued up on it all to give an opinion. I am learning BSL as I think it might be useful to me one day. 

I do agree that BSL should be taught though to all children. It is fairly easy to pick up, and they seem to enjoy it. My step daughters (8 and 11) love learning new things off me when I am learning.

Anyway, I hope you can have a proper chat with someone about it, as I think it is most likely very important to a lot of people! ?



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