Inspirational Cub Scout leader teaches ‘essential’ sign language skills nationwide

10th May 2019

An “inspirational” Newport Cub Scout leader with hearing loss is travelling across the country to teach youngsters vital sign language skills.

Alex Miller, who is deaf, has visited Scout groups across Wales and England over the past two years to educate them on how to use basic sign language and also raise awareness of hearing-related disabilities.

The 25-year-old, who is an assistant leader with the 29th Newport Sea Scouts, has so far taught up to 100 Scouts sign language through practical sessions and also by using song.

Thanks to his determination a new generation of Cubs, Scouts, and Beavers, are now equipped with essential skills to enable them to communicate with deaf people in their groups and in their wider communities.

Alongside his work with the younger members, the Newport resident has also been supporting group leaders to teach them basic sign language skills, to ensure they are able to communicate with children on a daily basis, and in an emergency.

The Group Scout Leader of the 29th Newport Sea Scouts, Ryan Smith, said his colleague Mr Miller had made an impressive impact on all the young members in Newport and praised him for his dedication to raising awareness.

He said: “Alex has been an inspiration to us here in Newport. He is living with his own challenges but yet he is always willing to give up his own time to help others.

“Due to his hearing loss he struggles with some aspects of Scouting, but there’s nothing he hasn’t overcome and he has made such an impact on the young people and the leaders of the groups.

“Not only has he taught us basic sign language, which we are able to use to speak young members in emergencies, he has also really opened our eyes to what it’s like living with a disability.

“He just always wants to do as much as he can to help more people, he is brilliant, and he has been a real asset to our team.”

With Mr Miller’s support, Scouts have also been able to achieve their Communicator Activity Badge, which involves learning new communication skills, whether it be in person, by phone, or digitally, and effectively implementing these.

As part of this Scouts are challenged to learn about how people with a visual or hearing impairment communicate, and learn a phrase in Braille, Makaton or British Sign Language.

Mr Miller’s dedication to raising awareness has been highlighted to celebrate Deaf Awareness Week from May 6th to the 12th, which aims to promote the positive aspects of deafness, and raise awareness of the huge range of local organisations that support deaf people, their family and friends.