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Disabled teen who got tens of thousands of people learning British Sign Language, returns for one-off Christmas special

December 11, 2020

A press release:

 

A disabled teen, who has been celebrated for getting tens of thousands of people learning British Sign Language (BSL), has returned for what he says will be his final outing, offering one final lesson, in time for the festive season.

15-year-old Tyrese Dibba, from Birmingham, made headlines earlier in the year, when he launched a series of free, online BSL lessons, during Spring’s national lockdown. The videos were produced as part of the ‘Sense Sign School’ campaign, developed by the disability charity Sense, in partnership with the GOOD agency, and aimed to get more people to learn BSL.

Led by the charismatic teen, the lessons, which attracted over fifty thousand people to sign up, covered a variety of Tyrese’s favourite subjects, from family to holidays.

Tyrese, who has CHARGE syndrome and is Deaf and partially sighted, has been supported by Sense since he was 6 months old. He uses BSL to communicate and is keen for more people to learn the method, because he feels it will help tackle social isolation amongst disabled people.

Now, Tyrese has returned to offer one final lesson, teaching his students how to talk about the Christmas holidays in BSL, so that it can be a more inclusive period.

Tyrese Dibba, said: “I absolutely love Christmas! I love getting presents and eating pigs in blankets. But there are things I don’t like about it, such as being given socks – they’re so boring! Hopefully, this lesson will help others to feel more confident talking to Deaf people like me, so we can all feel more included.”

Sense Chief Executive, Richard Kramer, said: “It’s been such a challenging year for us all, and we hope this Christmas gift from Tyrese will raise some much-needed cheer. If more people can go into the New Year knowing how to use BSL – it will mean less people will be left out.”

GOOD Executive Creative Director, Reuben Turner, said: “Christmas isn’t Christmas until everyone’s included. So we hope to get thousands of families around the UK swapping charades for signs this year. Whether they’re having Christmas remotely or in-person, it’s time for Tyrese to bring people together again.”

Loneliness is disproportionately high amongst disabled people, with one in two experiencing it every day, rising to three quarters for young disabled people.  In a recent study by Sense, one in four Brits admitted to avoiding conversations with disabled people because they didn’t feel confident about how to communicate.

It is estimated that over one hundred and fifty thousand people in the UK use BSL.

You can take part in Tyrese’s free Christmas BSL lesson here:

www.sense.org.uk/festivesignschool

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