Story from the Fenland Citizen
Schoolgirl Teigan Liebscher is backing a national campaign to get GCSE in British Sign Language introduced into all schools and is hoping Fenland people will add their support.
The 14-year-old March Neale-Wade Community College pupil was left totally deaf after suffering meningitis at the age of seven.
Teigan has a cochlea implant, an electronic device which helps her hear through a radio link, but she also uses sign language and lip reading to help her communicate. In fact she relied on sign language when she first lost her hearing.
Her ambition is to work with deaf children, following in the footsteps of her own support worker Sarah Clark, who is also deaf and visits Teigan fortnightly to help with any problems that arise at school.
But unfortunately a GCSE in British Sign Language is not available in mainstream schools – something which Teigan feels is very disappointing.
Luckily for her the Neale-Wade has helped fund a course at Peterborough Regional College, which Teigan has to do in her school holidays.
She spent four days of her Easter break studying and will do a further three days during the June half-term week to achieve an NVQ level one.
Teigan, who has to use a wheelchair to get around because she was born with 12 congenital heart defects, will have to give up part of future school holidays over the next couple of years to achieve level III – the equivalent of a GCSE.
“I know it won’t help me by getting a GCSE in British Sign Language in schools, but it will help people like me in the future.” said Teigan, who lives with her grandparents in March.
Her grandmother Carol Smith who looks after Teigan and her sisters, is proud of Teigan’s determination and is confident she will achieve her ambition.
“She is a real battler, we didn’t think she would survive when she was born.
“Then we thought we would lose her when she got meningitis, but she has always been a fighter.
“If she sets her mind to do something then she will do it.” said Carol.
She hopes local people will add their support to the on-line petition.
“Teigan would be able to do a GCSE if she went to a special deaf school, but we were determined she would go to a mainstream school.
“It is just a shame that the GCSE is not available in ordinary schools, especially as for people like Teigan it is really their first language,” she added.
To support the petition visit www.signature.org.uk/gcse