Runcorn teenager teaches sign language to local officers
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A teenager on a mission to teach sign language to 50 businesses took on her latest cohort last week when she visited Runcorn Local Policing Unit.
Lyla Magdy visited Runcorn police station on Wednesday 20 April, where she met with the Chief Inspector Andy Blizard and the E Block Response team, plus multiple others officers and staff, all of whom received a free sign language lesson from Lyla.
The 14-year-old, who attends Cavendish High School, suffers from a rare condition called Charge Syndrome, which in addition to being autistic means she is profoundly deaf and severely sight impaired.
Lyla did three sessions in total, teaching officers and staff a number of common phrases as well specific words related to their roles. The teenager researches each business in advance to ensure the lessons are unique to her audience.
Chief Inspector of Runcorn Local Policing Unit said: “It is truly amazing what Lyla is doing and a great mission, which I am sure she will achieve.
“I learnt how to sign “Hello”, “My Name is Andy”, “How are You” and phrases to assist when dealing with members of the deaf community, such as “ Are you Hurt” and “Is it an Emergency”.
Paula Burke who is Lyla’s Deputy Head teacher said: “Lyla is amazing and has ambition “like no other”.
“Lyla wants to spread the knowledge that if someone from the deaf community goes into these businesses, they will be able to communicate and the person who is deaf will be able to get their needs met.
“Lyla says being deaf can be very lonely and sometimes people give up, which she finds quite frustrating.
“This week visiting Runcorn Police Station was inspirational and proved hugely valuable but we hope the officers and other staff members will have the confidence to give talking to the deaf community a go and make them feel as welcome as they did Lyla.”
DS Emma Myers, of the Halton referral unit, who organised the training added: “Lyla is an inspiration and the confidence she has to come into businesses and teach adults’ sign language is truly amazing.”