Today we interview one of our team members Tracey, who is a native user of BSL.
Can you tell us a little about what life is like in a Deaf family?
I grew up in a very small family and we are very close. Growing up in a deaf family is normal to me, I don’t feel any different just because my parents are deaf. We all communicate using sign language and my sister and I haven’t faced any barriers within the family . We always enjoy being with our parents and them having their friends around for dinner and it’s good as we can join in with their conversations, but I am not always sure my parents felt comfortable with that! My parents always took us out to deaf events, e.g. Deaf clubs, festivals and that made me so proud of my culture.
Tell us more about your own deafness and communication preferences
I was born deaf and I grew up using hearing aids and still use them today. My first language is BSL even though I had a lot of English with signing back in the early 1980’s, as most deaf people sign with English (SSE). When I was 7, I went to a deaf oral school where I had to learn to lip-read the teacher as well as learn to speak. I am so grateful that my parents put me into the right school because it helped me to communicate with hearing people as well as deaf. My preferred language will always be sign language as that is my first language and it is natural for me to use it.
Overcoming barriers - what advice do you have for Deaf children?
My advice for Deaf children is to be open minded, meet new deaf friends. If Deaf children have never met any other deaf children, go to deaf events, e.g. sports, camping… I know that they will thrive and feel more positive about their future. I do not want any child to feel that they are different and to feel isolated.
If you could wave a magic wand, what would you most like to see happen to help Deaf people?
Oooh that’s a hard question!!! It would be fantastic if everyone could sign!