A group of profoundly deaf Doncaster students have urged local people to learn sign language as Deaf Awareness Week kicks off today.
The group of 20 students at Communication College Doncaster have joined forces to issue a plea to the town’s residential and business community and are urging people to become deaf aware and learn the basics of sign language.
The call comes on the back of an online focus group with the students, investigating what one thing they would change in Doncaster to make their day-to-day lives easier.
The students felt that members of the public learning British Sign Language (BSL) would really help to make their normal day easier.
Alan Robinson, executive principal of Doncaster Deaf Trust, who run the Communication Specialist College Doncaster, said: “Our deaf students try and live their lives as independently as possible, but if they experience communication problems while they’re out and about, it can make normal, day-to-day tasks such as getting a bus or going shopping much more difficult.
“We want Doncaster’s businesses and residents to come together and help us try and change this for our students.
“Simple steps, such as being deaf aware, looking at a deaf person when you are talking to them, and taking the time to learn some of the basics of British Sign Language, can make all the difference to the lives of deaf people here in Doncaster.”
Doncaster Deaf Trust has offered residential educational placements for deaf people for over 188 years.
The Trust is now made up of a nursery, Little Learners Day Nursery, which supports deaf and hearing children, Doncaster School for the Deaf which offers specialist primary and secondary education for deaf pupils and Communication Specialist College Doncaster which offers day and residential placements for anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing or has communication difficulties including autism, from the age of 16 and above.
Alan added: “We are lucky in Doncaster that many organisations work with us to support our students and offer work placements and industry visits.
"Places like Cast put on signed performances and their entire pantomime was signed last year.
"Doncaster Rovers support us with their player visits and donations and Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust provide special swimming lessons for deaf youngsters.
“We’re proud of our specialist education provision and welcome students from across the country to our region. Let’s work together and show the country what we can do and become the UK’s most Deaf Aware town.”
For further information about Doncaster Deaf Trust visit www.deaf-trust.co.uk