I'm learning British Sign Language to make my sessions accessible.

Hi, my name is Kayla and I am a sessional worker for KIDS, a charity for disabled children, young people, and their families. Over the past few months, I have been learning British Sign Language to help make my sessions more accessible. 

my experience with accessible sessions

I am also a Graphic Design student, and whilst at college, my teacher noticed that I was having difficulty focusing on tasks and organising my work. She referred me to the Learning Support team for a chat, which led to my Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) diagnosis. The college was brilliant with me from the start, they made simple adjustments to my classes, moving my seating position, giving me access to chill space, and letting me wear my noise-cancelling headphones.

One of the best improvements was an assistive technology pen that I used to highlight words as I read them and dim all the surrounding lines. For years I had enjoyed coding at clubs after school but when I’d moved from block-based to text-based coding I’d really struggled to follow instructions that had embedded bold, black background sample code. It was frustrating for me as I loved making things but just couldn’t concentrate on reading the plain text parts. The pen changed that for me and whilst I do think that more could be done to make the instructions accessible, I was grateful someone had gone out of their way to adapt for me at college. My latest graphics project included RGB LEDs coded using the picozero Python library and my pen helped me tremendously.

I read a stat that 1 in 4 people with hearing loss had left a job because they weren’t supported and I decided to make sure that I would be prepared to welcome any deaf young people and families to my sessions. I’m grateful for KIDS and their supportive training program. I am very new to British Sign Language so I put this captioned video out with some nervousness but hopefully seeing me putting myself out there will inspire other people to learn and put their learning into practice.