A Boughton teenager who is “passionate” about sign language has had thousands of views on his YouTube channel where he performs pop songs for people with hearing impairments.
His rendition of Adele’s Hello proved hugely popular, amassing over 3,000 views in a short space of time. Watch the video below:
Ryan Mclean’s passion for British Sign Language (BSL) began two years ago when he did a work placement at a hearing and visual impairment team within social services.
“I witnessed a social worker for the deaf signing with a service user and ever since then I have always been so fascinated and interested in the language,” said Ryan, 17.
His fascination with the language led him to the Mansfield Deaf Club, where he completed a BSL level one qualification under the guidance of the deaf comedian, John Smith.
“He has been fantastic at teaching BSL to me and my fellow students and have learnt a lot from him and is also very funny,” said Ryan.
“I became really passionate about the language and the deaf community throughout this course.
“I have also completed a deaf community and culture course to gain a better understanding.”
Ryan is now studying for his BSL Level 2 exams to further his understanding even more – but he said it’s a big leap in terms of difficulty.
“As a result of this, I started going to social events at the deaf club more often to integrate with the deaf community more,” he said.
Though he was trepidatious at first, Ryan eventually plucked up the courage to broadcast his work to the world.
He began using his skills to sign the lyrics to popular songs, and his growing fan-base on YouTube is testament to his popularity and success.
“My first video I uploaded to YouTube was Hello by Adele. I was overwhelmed with the reaction I got from this,”
Over 3,000 people watched his first video, and since them he has done seven other songs including BSL versions of Seven Years by Lukas Graham and Yellow by Coldplay.
“Doing songs in BSL has not only helped my confidence with my signing but it has also helped build up my vocabulary and improve my BSL skills,” said Ryan.
“I received feedback on all sorts of social media praising how talented I was and should continue signing songs.”
Elizabeth Patrick, 19, who is hard of hearing, met Ryan at the Mansfield Deaf Club and she said videos like his help people access and understand things they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.
“When people like Ryan sign a song it allows deaf and hard of hearing to fully understand the songs, what the lyrics mean and the emotion seen through the movement of signs and facial expressions,” she said.
“Hearing people can hear emotion through the singers voice, so people like Ryan try to give other people access to music.”
She says that very few YouTube videos are subtitled which means deaf and hard of hearing people often miss out.
“Ryan does a great job at signing songs. We need more people to learn sign language.
“He helps promote deaf access to the music world.”
Ryan is currently studying for a BTEC level three in Health and Social Care, but already has an unconditional university offer for a degree in interpreting BSL/English at the University of Wolverhampton.
Ryan’s mum Mandy Tait is immensely proud of her son.
“It’s great to watch him grow and become more confident in his signing,” she said.
“We look forward to seeing what he goes onto do next and are as proud as punch with his achievements so far.”
He is also planning a week long ‘signathon’ where he will communicate solely in BSL to raise money and awareness for the National Deaf Childrens Society.
To find out more and to support Ryan, go to https://www.justgiving.com/Signathon or check out his videos at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFcEA6MkYe6T6cjJ8…