During #InternationalWeekOfTheDeaf, Huawei has revealed that 95% of parents are in favour of having British Sign Language (BSL) added to the national school curriculum, after 74% of British parents admitted to not knowing the difficulties some deaf children experience when learning to read.

The research comes as Huawei’s free mobile app, StorySign, which translates popular children’s books into sign language is now available on Apple iOS.

The study of 2,000 British parents, also found that 81% of people surveyed did not know how to sign in BSL or were only able to communicate in it very badly and wished they had been taught a few words when they were at school (82%). Whilst, 58% believe BSL is difficult to learn, there is an appetite to learn sign language. In fact, 98% think it would be a good idea for children to learn sign language to help them communicate with the deaf community.

The research was commissioned by Huawei to celebrate the addition of Ten Minutes to Bed: Little Monsters and There's A Dragon in Your Book on its #StorySign smartphone app. StorySign, the free mobile app is available on both Android and iOS, and comes alive with Star, the app’s friendly signing avatar who translates a range of popular children’s books into sign language in real-time, creating a seamless reading experience and allowing deaf children to enjoy story time.     

“We developed StorySign as an educational tool, inspired by the issues deaf children face when learning to read – a challenge for any child, but so much harder when you can’t hear,’’ said Justin Costello, Huawei Director of Marketing, UK and Ireland.

"Now as StorySign becomes available on Apple iOS and new books join the library, StorySign will support even more deaf children learning to read no matter where they live or what smartphone they have and reinforces our commitment to using technology to help make the world a better place.’’

70% of parents also admitted to being reluctant to communicate with a deaf person due to feeling uncomfortable about not understanding them. The lack of knowledge of BSL in the UK can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness within the deaf community.

This is particularly detrimental to young children who are profoundly deaf which makes learning to read much more difficult. But a new film has been produced to show just how much of a difference StorySign has made to one child’s life – 9 year old Tasneem:

Damian Barry, Executive Director, British Deaf Association said

“Access to sign language and education tools are vital when tackling deaf literacy issues in the UK and the British Deaf Association supports Huawei with its long-term vision to help open the world of books to deaf children through StorySign.  It is encouraging that StorySign can help bring together families with Deaf children, like Tasneem and her family, to enjoy reading and story time together.

StorySign can now be downloaded worldwide for free from Google Play, the Huawei AppGallery and Apple App Store.

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