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The Corporation

Posted: 05/05/16

Ryan’s got the signs of success

A student at West Nottinghamshire College is refusing to speak to his teachers or classmates next week – but all for a worthy cause.

Ryan's set for a week of silence

Seventeen-year-old Ryan McLean, from Boughton, near Ollerton, has organised a sponsored sign-a-thon which will see him communicating purely by sign language for an entire week in a bid to raise as much cash as possible for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS).

The health and social care learner has ambitions to become an interpreter and is trained to British Sign Language level 2. Although he is not hard of hearing himself, Ryan has a visual impairment, so fully understands going through daily life with a disability.

Ryan said: “I know it will be difficult communicating just by sign language for a whole week, but I wanted to empathise with deaf and hard of hearing people and experience the difficulties they can face within a hearing-dominated society.

“I really enjoy sign language and am looking forward to raising some money for the charity too. I realise that not everybody will understand me, so I will be creative with how I communicate to people who don’t know sign language.”

Ryan currently has a work placement with the local social services team which sees him meeting with people in the community who have hearing and visual impairments.

And when he’s not busy studying and working on placement, Ryan has a hobby closely related to his charity challenge.

Ryan performs sign language to popular songs in the charts on You Tube. He films himself signing the lyrics. Some of the tracks he’s signed to include Seven Years by Lukas Graham, Hello by Adele, Yellow by Cold Play and You’re Beautiful by James Blunt.

Ryan added: “I enjoy signing the lyrics to songs. For me it both improves my skills but also it helps to make music more accessible to those who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

Ryan’s tutor Sarahjane Hooley said: “Ryan is an inspirational young man who has overcome many obstacles throughout his time here at college. Despite having a visual impairment himself, he has an awareness of many other issues faced by society and is an avid fundraiser.

“He’s successfully raised money for other charities such as the Make a Wish Foundation, Children in Need and the Teenage Cancer Trust and is more recently involved with the deaf community.”

Ryan has secured a place to study the BA (Hons) in Interpreting (BSL/English) at The University of Wolverhampton, and has aspirations to become a full-time interpreter for those with a hearing impairment.

Click https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFcEA6MkYe6T6cjJ8Mu0AQA to see Ryan signing a popular music track.