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Student signs up to help people with hearing loss

ByJill Lundberg

Sep 11, 2020 #education

Millie Aston, a Year 12 student at Richmond Sixth Form College, has passed the British Sign Language (BSL) course, achieving 100% in all ten modules.  Seventeen-year-old Millie was prompted to study for the qualification after encountering hearing loss herself and appreciating first-hand how challenging and alienating deafness can be.

Millie said: “I was born deaf and couldn’t hear or speak until the age of four and the thought of learning sign language has always fascinated me. Having struggled with hearing from a young age, I really empathise with others who experience hearing impairments and how isolating it can be.  I believe it is an important skill as it allows you to communicate with so many more people. I am hoping to get in touch with people who use sign language so I can help them, but unfortunately this is going to be difficult at the moment.”

Millie started the BSL course after finishing her GCSEs and has been studying since the summer, alongside working hard for four A-levels, dedicating many hours of her time to the sign language course. The course features ten modules, each with an online test at the end of the training, followed by a large final exam once all the elements have been completed.

Les Richardson, Head of Richmond Sixth Form College, said: “We are immensely proud of Millie and everything she has put in to achieving this qualification.  She is working incredibly hard at school, studying four A-levels, so it is testament to her work ethic and strong community spirit that she has done so well.”

BSL is the most common form of sign language used in the UK and in 2003, the UK government officially recognised it as a language in its own right. It is now used by thousands of people every day.

Accredited by the CPD Certification Service, the BSL course is delivered by the British Sign Language Association and is designed to be studied over a one-year period. It includes lessons such as: fingerspelling, numbers, colours, deaf awareness, family and relationships.  It involves a combination of hand shapes and movements, lip patterns, facial expressions and shoulder movements, with its own grammar. It is estimated that over 24,000 people across the UK use sign language as their main language. Visit www.bristish-sign.co.uk for further information.

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