Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Girl, 9, masters 600 sign language gestures so she can tell deaf mother 'I love you'

Source Link - Girl, 9, masters 600 sign language gestures so she can tell deaf mother 'I love you'

A nine-year-old girl has become one of the youngest people in Britain to pass her sign language exams.

Tayla Reynolds mastered more than 600 gestures so she could communicate with her mother, Debbie, who has hearing difficulties.

The gruelling 23 week Level 1 British Sign Language course is usually only taken by adults, but Tayla began learning sign language after watching her mother.

Tayla said she would love to follow in her mother's foosteps, who runs the School of Sign Language in Blackburn.

Debbie, 35, who set up the sign language school four years ago, said: 'I'm extremely proud of my daughter and only wish I'd started learning at her age. If I had begun then I'd have been fully trained by the time I was 20.

'With every person who passes the tests, we get closer to getting rid of the horrible label I had to live with, growing up deaf and dumb.'

A spokesman for society the British Deaf Association said: 'We would like to congratulate Tayla on achieving her BSL level 1 at such a young age. She is a glowing example to other school children.'

* Many accounts attribute the invention of sign language to 16th Century Italy and France, while records show a sign language wedding took place in Leicester as early as 1576.
* The language in its modern form, however, can be traced back to Charles-Michel de l'Epée, who founded the first public school for deaf children in Paris in the 1760s.
* The basic structures of the sign language he taught spread worldwide as similar schools were set up in other countries.
* Today, most countries have their own versions of sign language, with international conferences recognising some 80 languages divided into at least seven linguistic groups.
* British Sign Language, used by the majority of Britain's deaf population, claims somewhere between seventy thousand and a quarter of a million speakers.
* In 2004, British Sign Language was recognised by the government as an official language.