A Deaf teen who inspired over 80 thousand people to start learning British Sign Language during the UK’s first lockdown, has become the animated star of a new product aimed at raising money for charity and getting more people using BSL.
Tyrese Dibba, from Birmingham, made the headlines in 2020, then aged 15, when he teamed up with the disability charity Sense, to launch free online BSL classes to the public during the UK’s first lockdown. Deaf and partially sighted, Tyrese plays the role of ‘Mr Tyrese’ when he is giving his lessons, dressed in braces and orange tie. He would go on to be awarded the ‘Stephen Sutton Inspiration Award’ at the Pride of Birmingham Awards 2021, as well as the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award, in recognition of his efforts.
Tyrese, who is supported by Sense, now features as ‘Mr Tyrese’ in animated form, the star of ‘Sense Sign School’, a new monthly subscription product, by Sense, that aims to teach people of all ages basic British Sign Language in a fun way. Subscribers receive a monthly lesson pack in the post, which includes illustrated flash cards, a conversation guide leaflet as well as access to digital lesson pages and sign animations to aid learning.
Tyrese Dibba said:
“I love the idea of continuing my work in animated form, supporting more people to learn to BSL. Deaf people shouldn’t be excluded. You should be able to chat to everyone, regardless of disability.”
Mr Tyrese is the Head Teacher of Sense Sign School, and is joined by other teachers, all based on real people that Sense supports – giving each pack its own unique personality and identity – and helping subscribers to learn more about the experiences of people living with complex disabilities.
One of the new teachers is 18-year-old George Cook, from Birmingham. George has CHARGE syndrome, is autistic and deaf. He has been supported by Sense for over five years and uses BSL to communicate. George’s mother, Emma, says proud of her son.
Emma Cook said:
“I’m very proud that George is involved in this, as the more people who can sign the better. Deaf people shouldn’t be isolated in this day and age.”
George Cook said:
“More people using BSL gives me more independence, because the more people who can help me, the better.”
Sense Chief Executive, Richard Kramer, said:
“We’re thrilled to have Tyrese and George – and other friends of Sense – support us on this exciting venture which will get more people using BSL, and help raise money for our work supporting people living with complex disabilities.
“Hundreds of thousands of people who are Deaf use BSL as their first language, and if more people are able to use it, we can ensure that less people are excluded.”
(Pictured – Sense Sign School pack)
You can sign up to Sense Sign School at: www.sense.org.uk/sensesignschool