Signing her way to success

Sharon, who we support, is poised to become a sign language teacher to help Discovery colleagues communicate better with the people they support. She uses Somerset Total Communication simple signs and symbols.

Sharon has been attending day services in Somerset for many years and was keen to find a job that would challenge her. She has been working with Supported Employment coach, Amy Fussell, who recognised Sharon’s signing skills and experience. Anoushka Cross picked up the baton when Amy went on maternity leave, and together they made Sharon’s aspiration a reality.

Sharon also had the backing or her support worker, Tatjana Bodman, who believed in Sharon and encouraged and supported her.

Barriers she has overcome

Sharon’s confidence was low and she was apprehensive about her ability because she had never taught before and was nervous about what it would entail.

Sharon did her induction day at Discovery’s HQ at the Exchange in Bridgwater and sailed through it. She was confident and her sense of humour made everyone smile.

She has been using Zoom on a weekly basis to practise signing with Anoushka, and in the process Anoushka has learnt more than fifty core and secondary signs.

“Sharon has been a pleasure to work with. Her enthusiasm to want to get more out of life is clear, and her sense of humour always makes me smile even during these challenging times. Well done Sharon, you will be great in this role” said Anoushka.

Overall outcome

Sharon isn’t able to deliver her sessions in person, but she is about to set up Zoom calls so that she can start a ‘signing club’. A long-term aim is to make some training videos too.

Sharon says: “I think this is a great idea and I love teaching people to sign.”

Involvement and Engagement Advisor, Beccy Simmonds said: “It’s exciting to finally welcome Sharon into our team of quality consultants. She has great talent with her signing skills, and has a natural presence that gains your attention. She will make a fantastic trainer and I am really looking forward to working with her.”