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Unsung hero named 'inspirational' sign language tutor

Monday 12 August
Unsung hero named 'inspirational' sign language tutor

- August 12 at 8:00 AM

We’re subjected to the tyranny of unwelcome noise on a daily basis.

From the moment we’re jolted awake by the obscenely loud screech of an alarm we endure the roar of rush hour traffic, the tinny drums of iPods cranked up to the max and the incessant ringing of the office phone.

However after a weary commute home you can cross the threshold, shut the door and enjoy some well-earned peace and quiet.

But what if you were plunged into a world of permanent silence unable to hear anything?

This is something that award-winning British Sign Language (BSL) tutor, at Deaf Solutions 3, Gary Taylor has dealt with since birth.

He explained: “I grew up in a deaf family with deaf parents, aunts and uncles and within a wider deaf community.

“As a result, I saw first-hand the problems and barriers to life that my parents and other people had through hearing people not being able to sign.

“I also saw that people teaching were not giving the best to people, that hearing people were coming into the deaf community with really poor sign language skills and poor deaf awareness.”

This, coupled with an aspirational family who encouraged him to follow his dreams, motivated him to establish his own BSL company.

He said: “My parents really inspired me as a child as I saw the struggle they had to take part in a hearing world at a time when access was not a right and social barriers were huge.

“I saw them parenting, working and socialising, buying a home, running a household and living their lives.

“They did all of this without any sense of being ‘disabled’ and taught me that being deaf is something to be proud of as a cultural identity.

“They also taught me to expect, provide and earn respect and to make my own way in the world without expecting handouts from others.”

Having had such a positive experience growing up Gary decided to share what he describes as a ‘beautiful language’ to people within the deaf and hearing community.

“Having my own business allows me to feel more in control over the overall quality of service that I’m able to give to learners.

“It also allows me to be flexible in responding to individual needs such as providing additional one-to-one sessions when required.

“I’m able to plan courses that will pick up on the future learning needs of past learners and this means that I’m able to continue influencing the standards of BSL.”

It’s clear that Gary, who recently scooped the award Signature North West Teacher of the Year Award for a second time, is dedicated to transforming the lives of other deaf people.

“The world has changed and is continuing to change for deaf and deafblind people, with more and more opportunities to overcome social barriers.

“Schooling has changed hugely for deaf and deafblind children and I would urge everyone to study hard and strive for what you want to achieve.

“It remains important to fight for what you want and it’s important that people are not afraid to expect proper access and support.”

This level of support for the deaf and deafblind community is lauded by students who recognise the passion Gary has for sharing his skills.

Student Stefan Levy, who is about to start his level 3 signing qualification, has nothing but praise for his teacher.

“Gary is nothing short of a total inspiration to all his students and a remarkable teacher.

“Learning sign language is not an easy endeavour but his approachable manner meant no question was too trivial to ask – even if it was the eighteenth time that lesson someone had asked ‘How do you sign...?’

“I passed all my level 2 exams with Gary first-time round which gave me the confidence to go on to study level 3 which I will be starting soon.

“His passion for the language he teaches so well – BSL – came through in every lesson and his genuine interest in the needs of his students makes me proud to say he was my teacher.”

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