Two students at Great Academy Ashton, Caitlyn Worrall and Kiara-leigh Welsby, love talking to people – but personal stories mean not everyone in their family can communicate the same.
Inspired by Jade Kilduff and little brother Christian from Sign-A-Long With Us’ and their inspirational performances on Britain’s Got Talent last year, both Caitlyn and Kiara began to learn the basics of sign language and a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language.
Kiara said “I wanted to learn at least the basics in sign language so that I could communicate better with my two-year brother and maybe even teach him a few things along the way”.
For Caitlyn it was more important to raise the awareness of signage language and reduce the stigma that surrounds the subject.
She said “I am passionate about special educational needs and disabilities and one day I would like to get a job supporting children and young people”. I enjoy being able to pick up some of the language and share our experiences.”
Both students are now learning lyrics to new songs and musicals, such as The Greatest Showman, and regularly share their latest videos on Tiktok in support of the #HowToSign campaign which was originally launched by the video-sharing social networking service to celebrate National Deaf Awareness week.
The #HowToSign challenge gives the British Sign Language community an opportunity to carry on demonstrating their commitment towards learning sign language as a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expressions and body language.
Caitlyn said “We regularly receive 20 to 50 likes within seconds of us posting a new video but it’s more important for us to support the British Sign Language community, and who knows, we may even begin a club within the school to encourage more students to get involved”.
David Waugh, Principal at Great Academy Ashton, said “both Caitlyn and Kiara are simply inspirational. They have both performed their latest song here in school and it literally bought tears to my eyes. It is yet another example of how young people have coped, developed and explored new learning in the face of the pandemic. As we continue to break down the barriers to learning and support vulnerable students, I am very proud to support the #HowToSign campaign here at Great Academy.”