As many of you Limping Chicken readers will already know, BSL is undergoing a rapid change as the first generation of young deaf people with early diagnosis of deafness are being educated now. We also have a higher proportion of deaf children who use cochlear implants. More deaf children of all levels of hearing loss are being placed in mainstream schools and there are more opportunities for deaf people in higher education.
This differs from the older generation who usually attended large schools both oral and signing, often specifically for the deaf, with smaller numbers attending mainstream school settings.
It’s important to see the impact of these new trends. We at DCAL (Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre) aim to look at the changes in language and identity of the British Deaf Community and look at the differences in language and identity of each group.
We are looking at different groups of young deaf people aged 16 to 19; one group will consist of those who go to mainstream schools and use a Communication Support Worker (CSW)/and or an interpreter to access information, a second group will be pupils attending an oral school for the deaf, and the final group will be pupils attending a signing school for the deaf. This study aims to look at the changes in language and identity in the British Deaf Community and look at the differences in language and identity of each group.
Participants will have a semi-structured interview where they will be asked questions to find out background information i.e. which school they attend, which area they live in, what aids they use, whether or not any other family members are deaf, what communication methods they use etc.
They will also be asked questions linked to their educational experience and identity. Participants will also undergo some assessments to assess non-verbal IQ, English and BSL fluency. The assessment takes two hours, and the participant will be paid £20 in vouchers for their time.
We are still looking for pupils who go to mainstream schools who use CSWs and pupils of deaf signing schools, can you help?
If you know of any deaf pupils who you think meets the criteria or you think you might fit the criteria please contact me at email@example.com.
Indie Beedie is a Research Assistant at DCAL looking at Language and Identity and Executive Functioning.
The Limping Chicken is supported by Deaf media company Remark!, provider of sign language services Deaf Umbrella, training and consultancy Deafworks, the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Look, Smile Chat campaign, and the National Theatre’s captioned plays.