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Ladypool Primary get the signing bug

Children at Ladypool Primary school in Birmingham have had a fun introduction to sign language through music.

The youngsters aged between five and eleven took part in a special performance called Sign2Singto raise money for deaf children and adults.

British Sign Language teacher Nicky Maloney taught the whole school to sing and sign the song 'Reach Out Your Hand' and it was filmed by Michael Scott, volunteer photographer for West Midlands Fire Service.

We’re so excited to be taking part. It's a fantastic way for children to learn how important communication is while having fun mastering a little sign language raising money to help improve the health of deaf people.

– Mrs Huda Ali Aslam, Headteacher
Watch Commander Alan Swift and colleagues joined the children in the performance Credit: Michael Scott/West Midlands Fire Service

The youngsters were joined by members of Highgate Red Watch at West Midlands Fire Service who were taught the song by Watch Commander Alan Swift who along with other firefighters have learned sign language to help them when when working with the deaf community.

The children are among thousands across the country who have been learning and performing the song this month.

All the money raised will be used by charity SignHealth to improve access to healthcare for people who have hearing loss.


Full report on Hearing Dogs by John Willats

There are around 45 thousand deaf children in the UK.

Traditionally, specially trained dogs to offer help have only been available to adults.

But research has found hearing dogs can also have a big impact on the lives of deaf children.

One of those who is already benefitting is 11 year old James Cheung from Derbyshire.

His story is now at the centre of a national campaign to help train more dogs.

Mum on Hearing Dog benefits

The mum of a Derbyshire boy is promoting Deaf Awareness Week says taking part in a pioneering project which placing hearing dogs with deaf children has been really positive.

James Cheung's dog, Kurt, is one of only 12 placements of its kind in the country.

James' mum says: "He's made more friends through having the dog.

Some people are hesitant about approaching deaf people, even more so with deaf children because of the fear that they might not be understood.

"But the dog gives them a way in. They can talk about the dog, so it's brought a lot of positive things for James and broken down a lot of barriers."

A boy and his dog - James and Kurt promote campaign

James Cheung from Derbyshire is part of a pioneering project placing hearing dogs with deaf children. His is one of only 12 placements of its kind in the country.

James explains how Kurt helps him in everyday life.

James say, "He pulls the duvet to wake me. He's my best friend.

"If the smoke alarm goes off he lets me know and I give him a treat."

James and Kurt are promoting the Hearing Dogs for Deaf People charity, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

It takes around £45,000 to train and place a hearing dog.