NO parent should have to pay to learn to communicate with their child! Please consider supporting Katie Littlejohns' petition.
Katie's baby boy, Alvie, is moderately deaf, and they have chosen to learn British Sign Language (BSL).
She considers that it's vital that deaf children are not left behind because their families cannot afford to learn to communicate with them. "Hearing Aids are amazing, but they are not always effective", she said.
She started a petition in July asking the Government to fund free and easy BSL courses for parents of deaf children, along with so many others, adults who have late hearing loss also need free access to BSL.
She managed to get 42,300 signatures! However, whilst this was a great achievement in itself, this was a Change.org page... and when the Education Minister finally got back to Katie, she was told she needed to start again with a Government petition.
However, Katie is determined in her cause….
I will push and push for this until it happens. I’ve never felt so passionately or motivated in my life to do something.
She contacted deaf blogs, such as Limping Chicken, different companies and organisations like British Deaf Association (BDA), National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) and us to help her spread the world.
We happily shared this within all our social media channels, and we were glad to see that she managed to reach more than 10,000 signatures!
I’m so thrilled the amount of awareness I have managed to spread. Hearing people, like myself, are generally oblivious to the obstacles faced by deaf people.
In the other hand, The Department for Education (DfE) issued its response referencing the Adult Education Budget to support adult learners studying for a qualification: "Adult Education Budget funding is available for British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications, below Level 3. At Level 3 and above Advanced Learner Loans are available for certain BSL qualifications"
In return to the government’s response to her petition, Katie told us that “It’s been of no use whatsoever. Insulting and misleading."
In one of her tweets, she mentioned that "free courses that are out there are great, but these teach the basics, not fluency. If parents can’t afford the BSL courses, and don’t qualify for funding (ie universal credit) they won’t be able to undertake them."
She also told The Limping Chicken: “[It] doesn’t address the actual purpose of the petition. There is no mention of support for parents or the child. It merely offers potential funding for those ages 19-24. Or alternatively a loan for those above or part-funded if you’re on Universal Credit."
Let's push to the 100K!
Now, she will need just a little more support from all of you. She needs to get 100,000 signatures, and then her petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.
I do think if it got to 100,000 signatures it could definitely go in our favour. The current provision is incredibly poor. The DWP are leading on the guidance for the new BSL legislation. I emailed them and requested to be considered for being on the guidance committee. They never responded.
She also mentioned that "free courses that are out there are great, but these teach the basics, not fluency. If parents can’t afford the BSL courses, and don’t qualify for funding (ie universal credit) they won’t be able to undertake them."
So, if you haven't signed the petition yet, this is the link you need:
And if you already signed, just SHARE! Facebook, Twitter, Email, WhatsApp...
Anything would be very helpful.
The deadline is the 3rd April 2023, and all petitions run for 6 months.
Please, sign and help promote a more inclusive future!