We’re learning sign language!

Here at Teethinline, our Orthodontic Therapist Vicky and Treatment Coordinator Katie have been on a course which has introduced them to the world of sign language. We think this is great way to enhance communication with our patients who are profoundly deaf or have hearing difficulties

Here Katie tells her story about learning sign language:

“ I booked on the basic sign language course as I wanted to learn a new skill and be able to help people personally and patients at work who are hard of hearing. When Vicky and I arrived at the course, we met our tutors Julie and Douglas. Julie and Douglas are a married couple who were born deaf. Vicky and I took a seat and at the front of the room was a white board with instructions that we were not to talk. All communication will be in sign language throughout the course. Vicky and I found it hard not to use our voices to begin with but soon got used to it.

 We have both thoroughly enjoyed our course and have learnt how to have a basic conversation. It was interesting to find that the sign language is slightly different depending on if you are right or left handed. Sign language is also different in different countries and have regional variations too. Vicky and I attended the British sign language introduction course. It was for 4 weeks. The course covered learning finger-spelling alphabet, feelings, meeting and greeting, numbers, months of the year, questions and answers. We also learnt skills on communicating with a deaf person and things to bear mind such as making sure that you don’t cover your mouth with your hands when using sign language. When people are using sign language one sign might have a few different meanings depending on how the mouth is moving at the time the sign is being used. If the hand covers the mouth/ face area too much then it is hard for the other person to understand which meaning of the sign is being use.

 My colleagues are all really interested in this new skill so I’m showing them signs and coaching them so we can all have a go at helping people. I’m even thinking of taking the next level course to enhance my skills further – it’s been a truly enlightening experience for me!”

If you are a deaf or hard of hearing patient or parent attending our practices, please don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. We can offer our hearing loop or sign language help so please do ask.

If you wish to find out more about the adult hearing service you can find out online: https://www.cnwl.nhs.uk/adult-hearing-service/ or find them on Facebook search adult hearing service Milton Keynes

If you wish to find out about sign language courses you can find out online:

https://www.access-ambassadors.co.uk/bsltraining or find them on access ambassadors cic