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UCL events news and reviews


Doctor Manjula’s Prescription – A History of British Sign Language

By Ashley Cowburn, on 11 July 2013


An early manuscript illustrating finger sign

When Thomas Tillsye and Ursula Russell married in Leicester in February 1575, Thomas made his wedding vows in sign. Unknowingly, they were presented with a timeless wedding present – their marriage became the first recorded description of sign use in British history.

In 2003, British Sign Language (BSL) was recognised by the British government as a full and independent language.

Today, there are an estimated 50,000 – 70,000 people in Britain who use BSL as their preferred language. And, like most sign language communities, BSL is a minority language. Deaf communities within Britain have experienced centuries of discrimination in their fight for recognition.


Narrowing the gap between deaf and hearing children’s educational achievement

By uczxsdd, on 17 May 2011

According to the 2009 statistics from the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID), 840 babies are born each year in the UK with significant deafness, and 20,000 children aged 0 to 15 years are moderately to profoundly deaf. Despite this, educational provision for these children has been identified as being limited.

In light of this the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at UCL (DCAL) held a debate on the gap between deaf and hearing children’s educational achievements on 10 May. The debate was well attended and dynamically argued.