Last updated
1 Mar 2022

Can you use British Sign Language (BSL)?

How do I answer this question?

If you are able to hold a conversation in British Sign Language (BSL) select ‘Yes’. Otherwise, select ‘No.’

For this question, BSL includes Tactile BSL so if you can use this select ‘Yes’.

BSL does not include Makaton or baby sign language. If you use one of these but do not use BSL, select ‘No’.

What is BSL?

British Sign Language or BSL is a language which is the main language of many deaf people. BSL uses hand signs and facial expressions as a visual form of communication.

What is tactile BSL?

Tactile BSL is a manual version of BSL. It is used by people with both sight and hearing loss.

I have completed a Level 1 BSL course but cannot use it fluently. How do I answer?

Even if you are not fluent, select ‘Yes’ if you can hold a conversation in BSL. Otherwise, select ‘No’.

My child uses BSL very well for their age, but not as well as an adult might. How do I answer?

Select the option that describes how well this person can use BSL for someone their age.

Why is this question asked?

The answers you provide allow us to create a more accurate profile of Scotland’s BSL users.

Information on BSL use will help with:

  • developing policy
  • designing services for deaf people
  • equality monitoring
  • legislative work

The Scottish Government has a British Sign Language (BSL) National Plan. In this they set out why they need to have more information on Scotland’s BSL users.

The plan is in line with the BSL (Scotland) Act 2015.

Who should answer this question?

This question should be answered for everybody who is aged 3 or over.

I am answering on paper for a child who is too young to speak, read or write. How do I answer?

You do not need to answer this question for children aged 2 or under.

We will be able to tell that this person’s language skills are age related from their date of birth.

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Do not include personal information or contact information. Please note that we will not respond directly to any feedback sent from this page. We will use this information to improve our service.