Deafblind National Advisory Group
It is 1 year since the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 was passed in the Scottish Parliament. It was an historic day for people whose first language is BSL. Deafblind people whose first language is BSL, were encouraged because the term “tactile” BSL was incorporated into the Act which will mean that deafblind BSL users’ tactile language needs have a legal support within the legislation.
So what has been happening since September 2015? Indeed there have been considerable developments including the setting up of the National Advisory Group (NAG) which will draw up the first ever BSL National Plan. It is anticipated that this will be published in October of 2017. The NAG is currently looking at the 10 “Long term Aims and Ambitions” of the BSL National Plan. This will include areas such as: Education, Health and Social Care, Access to Transport and Culture and Leisure.
To gather the views of deaf and deafblind people throughout Scotland who use BSL, “feeder NAGs” such as the DeafblindNAG, were consulted. During this consultation some of the most important things for deafblind people who use BSL was for society to understand the communication needs of deafblind people, to increase recognition of Tactile BSL and widen the availability of BSL support to deafblind people who require Tactile BSL.
The next NAG meeting on November 1st will get down to the task of prioritising the 10 Aims and Ambitions of the BSL National Plan. The first Draft Consultation Plan will be out sometime in January 2017. Deafblind Scotland is delighted to be supporting deafblind BSL users throughout this process, and we welcome more deafblind BSL users to become involved in what will be a momentous time of change for them.