Windygates teen wins award for teaching sign language

A Windygates girl who has hearing loss and struggles with anxiety has won an award for her work helping others learn sign language.

Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 2:15 pm
Layla with her award.
Layla with her award.

Teenager Layla Cooke has been using her disability to help other people, setting up her own social media channels to teach sign language and giving private lessons to kids in a similar situation.

Through her BSLCooke pages, Layla uses her skills to teach others how to sign songs, such as Lewis Capaldi’s ‘Before You Go’ and the more festive ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’.

She also writes her own poems and signs basic words to help improve awareness of British Sign Language (BSL).

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The 14-year-old has already learned BSL level 1 and is now in the process of learning level 2.

As well as helping people online, Layla has also been helping a family, teaching a young son how to communicate with his deaf father.

“I know how hard it can be not being able to talk to someone,” she said.

It was because of this work that Layla won an award from Enable Scotland, recognising her achievements overcoming her own difficulties to help other people.

Layla, whose own hearing is continuing to deteriorate, started learning BSL in September 2018.

She said she would like more schools to start teaching BSL, saying: “It would help me speak to my friends and it would be more inclusive.”

Her mum, Suzy, said she was “proud” of Layla, adding: “She is overcoming all of her own barriers to help other people. She will continue to promote BSL and hopes to inspire other children to learn it.”

For more information, search for BSLCooke on Facebook.