Rachel Shenton this week took home the Oscar for best Live Action Short for her film “The Silent Child,” which tells the story of a deaf girl born into a family who can hear.
Shenton had promised co-star Maisie Sly, who suffers from hearing loss, that she would give her winning speech in sign language if she won.
The event has led to praise from all corners of the world, and one local signing club couldn’t be prouder.
Hannah Lindahl, who is club leader at Little Signers Club North Nottingham, said she was ‘thrilled’ by the film’s Oscars success.
She said: “The film highlights the isolation of children with the invisible disability of hearing loss and, as a result of this film, British Sign Language and hearing issues, particularly for young people, are being given a global stage.”
Little Signers Club North Nottinghamshire offer classes in Arnold and Ravenshead which teach sign language to babies and toddlers. This allows them to communicate with their parents and carers before they are able to talk.
As they get a little older, the signing is used to help support language development and allows easier clarification during the toddler stages when speech can be very unclear or words are frequently pronounced incorrectly.parents and tots affected by hearing loss and aim to give them the ability to start signing for themselves.
Hannah said: “British Sign Language has obvious benefits for those with hearing difficulties but it also provides a wonderful connection and understanding for everyone when other members of the community can join in too.
“Babies and toddlers can let their parents know what they need, reducing tantrums and distress. Pre-schoolers and older children can use it to support language development, spellings and literacy. Children and adults with other invisible disabilities find signed communication a lifeline. Many other people will remember having learned the signed BSL alphabet at brownies or cubs – and with a little practice, it will all come flooding back.
Little Signers Club was launched in February 2010 and the successful teaching scheme is now being licensed out across the country. In addition to its British Sign Language based classes for children and parents, the organisation publishes delightful ‘Rhyme and Sign’ Adventures, which children of all ages and abilities love.
Hannah added: “It’s lovely to see all the little ones totally engaged with signing. They have a natural instinct for it and they bloom as soon as they realise that they are understood. Signing is such an incredible activity to do and the parents who come along to classes enjoy adding a new skill to their repertoire too. It really has something for everyone and it’s so easy to learn!”
To register interest in Hannah’s free signing sessions, arrange a free session at your local baby / toddler group, Children’s Centre or to join a local class, please call 07856 021 527 or email firstname.lastname@example.org