Billy Read

1. How did you come to know about Deaf Active Online? 

Last year, I was contacted by one of the UK Deaf sports staff members regarding Deaf Active Online. I was interested in delivering it and have been doing it since last September and I have been doing it since.

2. How useful have you found accessing Deaf Active Online?

Doing Deaf Active Online encourages me to do weekly sessions. It’s useful because I can maintain in touch with the deaf children at schools who come to my dancing classes, and it’s simple to communicate with them in BSL and encourage them to keep going.

3. What are the other benefits you have seen from accessing Deaf Active Online?

Since last year, I’ve been providing deaf activities online, which has greatly aided deaf young people at home and school in participating in online activities with me. It is because it allows us to give teachers a break and allows young deaf people to participate in online dance lessons. It also assists parents by allowing deaf children to attend the sessions at home so that they are not bored during half-term or after school. Young deaf children need a role model, and I was able to be one for them. So, it was a wonderful way to keep them exercising and motivated.

4. Have you found any barriers when accessing online exercise? What are these?

When I teach dance to young deaf individuals on Zoom, I have to be slow and gentle. It’s because everyone who has joined Zoom has a connection level that interferes with my sessions. Some have faultless connections, while others are delayed, and it is the same with music. So, when I play the music, some deaf people can hear the music and some cannot, and I have to demonstrate the rhythm of the beat and the dance by using hand signs and clapping. Deaf individuals are more visual, which was one of the challenges in delivering dance online. It was also tough for me to get all the children’s attention because zoom only shows you a limited number of people who can see you. So, I was unable to stop the session halfway through because of the limited time.

5. What advice would you give to people that are looking to take part in an online activity programme like Deaf Active Online?

The good thing about Deaf Active Online is that it is free to join for deaf individuals. There are several opportunities for them to participate in various activities at various times. It’s always nice to meet other deaf individuals, because when I offer the session, some deaf people know each other from school and haven’t seen each other since the pandemic. They were able to see each other because they were both deaf and engaged online, which was wonderful. Also, Deaf Active online helps young deaf people gain confidence, because when we were in lockdown, deaf people experienced challenges. Some deaf people, for example, have hearing family members with whom they struggle to communicate. However, with the deaf active online, young deaf people will have a deaf role model to look up to.