Abbey College Manchester students have taken on the very rewarding task of learning sign language as part of an initiative to promote equal access and to improve the lives of deaf and hard of hearing people.
They have undertaken the course to give them additional skills as they aspire to secure places on the most competitive degree courses at top universities. The students have also expressed a genuine interest in learning and experiencing what those living a silent life go through. Although British Sign Language is now a recognised official language, many users do not have full access to information and services, including education, health and employment. The course is being run by DEAF, which stands for Deaf Education Advocacy Fellowship, and they are working to change this by providing Deaf Awareness, Accredited Sign Language qualifications and Equality and Diversity Training. The enrichment programme which runs for nine weeks offers students the chance to gain knowledge and acquire the skills necessary to communicate effectively with Deaf people. The students will be taught basic sign language and finger spelling and will be given an overview of Deaf Awareness which will show an insight into the barriers faced by deaf people.