JENNIFER Wilkie fears that one day she will be completely deaf.
But the 29-year-old from Paisley is determined that if and when that day comes she’ll be prepared and still be able to communicate.
Jennifer has joined Renfrewshire Leisure’s Sign Language Club, which meets several times a week at Paisley Arts Centre.
She is joined by dozens of other people who want to learn British Sign Language (BSL) in a fun and relaxing way.
An Early Years Excellence and Equity Lead, at a local children’s centre, Jennifer explains:
“My main reason for learning BSL is to prepare me for the day I don’t have any hearing at all.
“I have profound hearing loss that is helped by two hearing aids, which I use every day and I can’t function without them.
“My hearing has slowly become worse over the years and there is no way of knowing if I will lose all my hearing and when this might happen.”
She continues: “It became apparent when I was young that I had hearing problems, but no one knows what has caused my deafness.
“I joined the Sign Language Club so I can communicate with people if my hearing ever goes completely. My mum comes to the club with me and we both pass on what we have learned to our family, so if the day ever comes that I am completely deaf, they will be able to communicate with me as well.”
Jennifer is urging other people to join the Sign Language Club and learn BSL from profoundly deaf tutor Graham Dow and BSL qualified David O’Rorke.
She says: “I would encourage everyone to come along and learn BSL. It’s such an essential skill to have to allow everyone to communicate and to lessen the barriers for deaf people.
“Graham and David who run the classes are very motivational, but make the classes very relaxed for everyone. The have inspired me to learn even more about sign language and I want to go on to gain a BSL qualification”
A new family BSL group has recently been started at Paisley Arts Centre, every Saturday, between noon and 1pm. Beginners meet on a Saturday, between 11am and noon and a Monday between 7pm and 8pm. The intermediate group meets on a Monday between 6pm and 7pm.
Anyone interested in coming along to the Sign Language Group should contact Emma Armstrong, on 0300 300 1210.