St Thomas School for the Deaf, Basingstoke By John Walker

Memories from Lulu and Lisa

Transcripts at the end of the page, please scroll down.

Lulu at St Thomas

Transcript for 'Lulu at St Thomas':

KB - So, which dates were you are St Thomas?

LF - I started St Thomas in 1979. Just before I started at this school, I lived in Scotland when I was only a baby. My family moved to Hampshire and my first school was in a Partial Hearing Unit in a mainstream school. I didn't like this school because they were forcing me lipread with their mouths covered. I was disturbed by this experience and I remember not liking how I was treated.

I was then moved to St Thomas. I enjoyed the experience of moving into this school when I left the 'mixed' environment to a school for only profoundly deaf children. We all received more individual attention than when we were in a PHU.

I stayed at St Thomas for four years. For each year, I had a different teacher, all with their own ways of teaching and how they influenced me as a person and how we got on together. They all had their own idiosyncrasies.

I have very vague memories of my first school teacher. I remember lots of drawing and taking homework home.

The second teacher was a 'horrible' teacher. Of all the seven schools I have attended, they all taught using the oral method of education. St Thomas was an oral school. In my class, I had two friends and both of them had deaf members of their family. They could both sign fluently and I was drawn into their language and culture. I remember having a natural tendency to sign since my early years. I don't know how it came about but it was innate.

Somehow, when I was 3, 4 or 5 years old - when I was in Scotland - the love of using gesture emerged from me. I would sign with everyone, including my friends at school. During these years, my friends taught me the BSL grammar, different signs and fingerspelling - and I picked it all up. But it is bizarre that, in an oral school, it was here where I learnt to sign.

This page was added on 21/09/2012.

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