23rd of September 2023- International Day of Sign Languages:
Over the weekend, The International Day of Sign Languages was celebrated.
The International Day of Sign Languages is celebrated annually across the world on the 23rd of September. The day operates as an occasion to educate people on the importance of learning sign languages as a step towards the elimination of any discrimination. Specifically, this year, the theme was centred on the aim of “A World Where Deaf People Everywhere Can Sign Anywhere”.
The World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) has estimated that there are approximately 72 million deaf people worldwide. According to the British Deaf Association (BDA), British Sign Language (BSL) is the first or preferred language of over 87,000 Deaf people in the United Kingdom. The BDA states that there are a total of 151,000 individuals in the United Kingdom who use BSL within the home. Alongside this figure, there are many BSL translators and interpreters. To further expand the number of BSL users, schools across the UK need to be encouraged to teach sign languages as part of the national curriculum. Indeed, if this was to be implemented, it would maximise inclusion and ensure that nobody is left behind.
Unfortunately, deafness is not something which is only impacted at birth, rather, deafness can affect anyone at any point during their life span. It is estimated that there are approximately 11 million people in the UK with a type of hearing loss. Of the 11 million, 8 million of these are aged 60 and over. Unfortunately, the rising number of deaf individuals means that social exclusion and isolation is becoming more of an issue. In order to reduce exclusion, our society must encourage BSL to be more widely adopted.
Not only does learning BSL maximise inclusion, but there are also many exciting careers that can be embraced:
- Sign Language Translator
- BSL Teacher
- Lip Speaker
- Communication Support Worker
- Deafblind Interpreter
- TV Presenter
Through an advocation to learn sign languages, deaf people will be more widely included and societies across the world will become more deaf aware. Any step taken is a step towards building societies in which deaf people everywhere can sign anywhere.