Thousands of children in schools, scout and guide groups across the country will be supporting the UK’s biggest Fingerspellathon this October. The fundraising challenge, launched this Thursday by the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), aims to break down barriers for children with hearing loss.
More than 13,000 children are expected to take part and learn to fingerspell words and phrases using the British Sign Language (BSL) alphabet, whilst raising money to support deaf children.
In the UK there are around 1.6 million children with varying levels of hearing loss, from mild to profound deafness, from children who were born deaf to those with glue ear. Deaf children often miss out on everyday conversations and playground games with their hearing classmates, leaving them feeling isolated and left out.
Using fun and interactive activities, Fingerspellathon helps develop understanding about what it is like to be deaf and promotes inclusion in school and children’s clubs.
Anne Keenan, mother of twins Mae (deaf) and Ruby (hearing), 10, and Kitty, (deaf), 12, from London, who all took part in the challenge last year, said: “Fingerspellathon is brilliant for bringing children together. The challenge helped my girls to feel more included in school. They really enjoyed getting involved and using the sign language skills they use every day at home in a fun event at school with their friends. Deaf children can sometimes feel left out, so it’s great that campaigns like Fingerspellathon show what others can do to help children with hearing loss.”
Emma Watson, Community and Events Executive at NDCS, said: “Deafness can be isolating for children, if the right support is not in place. Fingerspellathon is a great way for children to learn more about what it is like to be deaf and how they can help make things easier for people with hearing loss.
“We have been amazed by the support Fingerspellathon received last year and we hope thousands of children will take part and get sponsored for learning to fingerspell this year.”
NDCS helps deaf children thrive by offering support, services such as its Helpline, and events for children and their families.
Raising just £100 for NDCS could allow a deaf child to borrow and test a radio aid to help them communicate better with teacher and friends and feel less isolated.
Schools, guide and scout groups can register now and download a resources pack which includes a range of fun activities, word games and information to help them organise their event at www.ndcs.org.uk/fingerspell.
To view a video of Figerspell click here: