Meet Timothy Perera, a deaf BSL user based in the North of England. Growing up in a hearing environment, he was the only deaf person in his family. Tim shares his experience of his early years and how he found the deaf community.
Tim wasn’t diagnosed as being deaf until around the age of three. With no prior experience of deafness, this raised some challenges for Tim’s parents and the family, particular around communication. Due to limited resources and BSL support, Tim and his family made communication work however they could. As with many families in similar situations, they developed a system that would work for them, making use of gestures and creating their own signs.
“My sister and I sometimes made up signs between us. It was very different to BSL, but we needed to get through everyday communication.”
When Tim began school, he was exposed to BSL for the first time. Being around other deaf children on a daily basis allowed him to continue to develop the language. But it wasn’t until he found the deaf community that his life really began to change.
“When I joined the deaf community, it was such a big change for me because it wasn’t like school or college. It was a completely different experience. I found deaf sports…it was amazing to see everyone signing and the diversity of experiences within the community.”
Tim now has a family of his own and enjoys sharing his language and culture with his young child.
Share your story
The aim of the Deaf Like Me series is to highlight the diversity of deafness by showcasing stories and experiences from our community. If you have a story or experience you’d like to share with us, get in touch here.