- Family Sign Language is offered to all families of early identified d/Deaf children.
- It is a bespoke intervention tool which puts the needs of the family at the heart of what we do.
- The Service starts to work with families through Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP) and some babies are as young as two weeks old when we start to work with families.
- A FSL practitioner is able to work with the baby/child, the family and the extended family to develop a communication method using British Sign Language (BSL).
- It differs from learning an accredited BSL course as it is always tailored around the family routines.
- Intervention is for 6 weeks which is then reviewed.
- Quite often, families need a ‘break’ after six weeks but then ask for more intervention at a later date. It’s quite emotional to see a baby babble using sign!
The Service currently has three practitioners trained to deliver FSL.
- FSL can, and usually does, make all the difference when it comes to communication.
- FSL bridges the gap. Some families are in denial for a while and ask, ‘Why should I talk to my baby, he cannot hear me’. All family members can participate. Sometimes friends attend the sessions and this is a great release for parents as it ensures somebody other than the family can communicate using sign.
- FSL is an intervention tool; not all d/Deaf babies go on to use BSL sign. When delivered to an early years setting, all children have benefitted, not just our d/Deaf children. It is a great communication tool for all involved.
This service is classed as our Support Service, so is part of our free statutory offer in supporting d/Deaf CYP.