Deaf Awareness Week 2023

Image shows a woman on a video call using sign language

Deaf Awareness Week takes place during the first full week in May each year. This year, it is taking place from the 1 – 7 May.

The purpose of Deaf Awareness Week is to celebrate the deaf community and also to raise awareness of the communication needs of deaf and hard of hearing people.

The theme of this year’s Deaf Awareness Week is “Access to Communication” and advocates for deaf and hard of hearing people to have greater access to communication tools and services.

Deaf Awareness Week aims to encourage people, services and organisations to work together to create a more inclusive society where deaf people have equal access to communication.

Deaf Awareness Tips

The National Deaf Children’s Society has put together a video series for Deaf Awareness Week 2023, so you can learn how to improve your deaf awareness.

The National Deaf Children’s Society also have tips and advice for ways to become more deaf-aware and deaf-friendly in everyday activities, including communication tips and tips on how to be deaf-friendly.

There are over 50,000 deaf children and young people in the UK. The National Deaf Children’s Society asked some of them to share their stories. In the video, they share what they love about being deaf, what being deaf means to them, and what might surprise people about being deaf.

British Sign Language (BSL)

Sign Language is a visual means of communicating using gestures, facial expression, and body language. The British Deaf Association estimates that British Sign Language (BSL) is the preferred language of 87,000 deaf people in the UK.

Learn BSL at the University of Reading

The University’s Institution Wide Language Programme (IWLP) enables University of Reading students from every discipline and year, including postgraduates, to study a 20-credit language module.

Even if you don’t have the credits available to take one of our modules, there is still an option to take modules non-credit for pleasure or personal development for a small fee.

The University of Reading offers three British Sign Language courses: beginner, post-beginner and lower-intermediate. The British Sign Language 1 module is suitable if you have no prior knowledge of BSL.

This module will provide an introduction to British Sign Language, concentrating on its communicative use in familiar, everyday situations. You will acquire a basic understanding of BSL.

You can find out about each of the three modules available on the IWLP website.

What’s it like to learn British Sign Language (BSL) with the IWLP?

Read posts from former students on the IWLP blog. You can also read about how you’ll learn on an IWLP module and the reasons why you should take an IWLP module.

How do I sign up?

For detailed information on how to sign up, see the IWLP how to apply page. Credit students need to sign up via RISIS module selection.

Module selection for next year is now closed. If you are interested in signing up to IWLP as a credited module, you have the option to transfer onto the module in the next Autumn term. If you are interested in doing this, contact the IWLP admin office at

Non-credit students must submit the non-credit application form – please note that non-credit applications open in September.

If you have any questions about how/when to apply, email the IWLP team:

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