Time for Reflection – Scottish Parliament: 9th May 2017
Articles Blog

Time for Reflection – Scottish Parliament: 9th May 2017

February 26, 2020


The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh):
Good afternoon. Our first item of business today is time for reflection, and our time
for reflection leader is Jemma Skelding, who is a pupil at Falkirk high school and a British
Sign Language user. Jemma Skelding:
Presiding Officer and members of the Scottish Parliament, thank you very much for your kind
invitation. My name is Jemma Skelding. I am 12 years old and I am profoundly deaf. As
you can see, I use British Sign Language, and Mary McDevitt will translate into English
for you all. I am especially happy to be here for time
for reflection today because next week is deaf awareness week, which will run from 15
to 21 May. My mum and dad are both deaf and I have an
older sister who is deaf and has special needs. At home, I grew up using sign language. In
fact, I thought that everyone could sign. It was not until I went to Olivebank nursery
that I met people who could not sign. At the nursery, people used gesture, which was fine. I then went to Wallyford nursery, where for
half a day every week everyone learned some sign language. That was a really happy time
for me. I was with my friends and I just felt like everyone else. We joked and we laughed
a lot. We even had special sign names for each other. When the time came, we all moved
on to Wallyford primary school together. It was not until I was in primary 3 that I
noticed things change. My friends would all talk with each other, but I felt left out.
I do not think that that was because they did not like me; I think that it was just
too difficult for them to communicate with me. I remember one girl in my class having
a birthday party, and all my friends were invited. However, I did not get an invite.
The girl’s mum had said that she would not know what to do with a deaf girl in her house
overnight. By primary 4, I was really unhappy and I was very lonely. My mum and dad could see that that was really
hard for me and how sad I was. It had been completely different for them, as they both
went to a deaf school and had lots of friends. That is when they decided that I should go
and live with my dad. That was in 2014. I moved to Windsor Park school and I met other
deaf children. When I got there, all the teachers and children could sign. I was really pleased
to meet them, and that is where I met my best friend. I now go to Falkirk high school, which has
full-time communication support workers, and I enjoy school very much. We did a project
on the Scottish Parliament and even came for a visit. Thank you for reflecting on my school experiences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *