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Become a Signing Friend with Evelina London

Posted on Friday 6th May 2016
People doing sign language

Staff demonstrating their signing skills at a Signing Friends session and in the sign of the week films

The Speech and Language Therapy team at Evelina London Children’s Hospital have launched a Signing Friends initiative to improve communication with children and young people.

At Evelina London we look after children with varying levels of communication skills. Our hospital Speech and Language Therapy team, who assess and manage children with a range of communication challenges, set up Signing Friends as a way to increase staff knowledge of signing and non-verbal communication.

Signing Friends includes weekly sessions for staff to learn everyday signs. Group sessions are open to all staff across the children’s hospital and help to build confidence in learning and practising signs.

As well as teaching signs to staff during drop-in sessions, the team share a ‘sign of the week’ to raise awareness of the importance of improving non-verbal communications skills and remind staff to practise their signs. Every week, a filmed clip of a staff member demonstrating a simple sign is shared on social media and posters with pictures of the sign are displayed around the hospital.

Maya Asir, Highly Specialist Speech and Language Therapist, says:

“We’ve been really pleased by the response to Signing Friends. Staff have really got involved and shown commitment to learning signs and teaching them to others. It’s really important that everyone makes an effort to communicate with children and young people who might have difficulties with verbal communication.

“Since starting Signing Friends with our staff we’ve also been encouraging our supporters to get involved by tweeting our ‘sign of the week’. We’ve had a great response so far and will continue to encourage all our supporters to become Signing Friends.”

You can become a Signing Friend simply by looking out for our weekly tweets using the hashtag #SigningFriends from @EvelinaLondon.

Catch up on all previous signs and find out more about Singing Friends from Maya on our YouTube channel.