New bilingual app with sign language brings more stories to deaf children

Credit: @motionlightlab

Aiding literacy skills and building creativity, storytelling is an integral part of growing up. One woman has now created a new app for deaf children to enjoy the experience.

Happy reading

Melissa Malzkuhn has developed an app that will allow deaf children to enjoy the joy of story time. Founder of Motion Light Lab in the Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning (VL2) at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.

The VL2 Storybook Apps, available through the Apple store as individual books, brings together English and American Sign Language allowing young children to connect with each other using the two languages.

Not to mention it encourages more children to appreciate and learn sign language.

Children can either watch or read the book, and watching features a narrator using American Sign Language. Although only currently using American Sign Language, it is positive to see more inclusivity for deaf children across the board. 

Across the pond

On home soil, British Sign Language has had great success in recent days, too. Tuesday (2 October) saw 388 people participate in a Guinness World Record attempt in London, for the Largest Tactile Singing Lesson.

Credit: Sense

Organised by national disability charity, Sense, and the international accountancy and advisory firm, Mazars, saw a 30-minute lesson on British Sign Language. Emma Boswell, who is deafblind and works for Sense, taught the participants one form of tactile signing.

“For the second year running, Mazars staff have shown their enthusiasm and commitment to raising awareness for Sense, and I am immensely proud of the organisation and effort that went into attempting this new world record,” said Phil Verity, Mazars senior partner. “Our partnership with Sense is based on shared values and a common purpose, and we’re delighted to support its important work.”

Tactile signing

The deafblind community, meaning people have both sight and hearing impairments, commonly use tactile signing as a form of communication. Involving touch, tactile signing is a form of British Sign Language.

An entertaining attempt to make a new world record, the event also highlighted the different forms of communication people in the UK use on a daily basis. This partnered with the new American Sign Language children’s books shows the diversity of sign language and tactile signing.

If more events of this nature and products continue to be introduced it could be a matter of time before everyone worldwide is utilising sign language.

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