Statement from Sarah Davidson, Director-General for Communities and co-chair the BSL NAG (National Advisory Group) on behalf of The Scottish Government regarding Tactile BSL.
“My name is Sarah Davidson, I am the Director-General for Communities in the Scottish Government, and co-chair the BSL NAG (National Advisory Group).
I am aware that there has been some discussion about the inclusion of Tactile BSL on the Facebook page. As the Scottish Government’s senior representative on the NAG, I want to set out clearly the position of Scottish Ministers. Section 5 of the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015 refers specifically to “the tactile form of British Sign Language used and understood by some Deafblind people”. The Scottish Parliament voted unanimously to include tactile BSL in the act.
Those of you who followed the passage of the Bill through the Scottish Parliament will know that Ministers made a number of commitments to ensuring that the needs of Deafblind people whose first or preferred language is BSL, were fully considered in the implementation of the legislation.
The NAG includes Deafblind representatives whose first language is BSL, one of whom has been my co-chair and their contribution has been immense.
As we work together to develop the first BSL National Plan, it is crucial that we understand the needs of people who can no longer receive BSL the usual way because of sight loss.
We need to do all we can to enable Deafblind BSL users to continue to communicate in BSL – for example through hands-on signing – so that they can remain part of the vibrant BSL communities in Scotland.”