Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Deaf education specialist: Rose Ayling-Ellis’s performance without music was amazing for representation

© PAStrictly winners Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice.
Strictly winners Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice.

Nell Pattison is a teacher, specialist in deaf education, and author of Hide and other crime novels in the Silent series published by Avon.

What can you say with a few moments of silence?

If you saw Rose Ayling-Ellis’s recent performance on Strictly, when she and Giovanni Pernice danced with no music, you will know the effect it had on viewers, leaving some in tears.

It was a beautiful and powerful way to illustrate the lived experience of a profoundly deaf person, aired on prime-time television and shared all over social media, and the effect on those watching has already become apparent.

Rose won on the strength of her dancing skills but, along the way, she captured the hearts of a nation and had a huge impact on the deaf community, both through representation and raising awareness.

Everyone deserves to see people they can identify with in the arts and media, whether that is on television, in film or in books, and this is especially important for children as they grow and develop a sense of their own identity.

© SYSTEM
Nell Pattison

As a teacher who has worked with deaf students for 15 years, I have met more than one deaf child who thought they would be hearing when they grew up, because they had never met a deaf adult.

In the UK, the majority of deaf children are born into hearing families and attend mainstream schools with hearing peers.

Schools for the deaf and education services do their best to highlight positive deaf role models for their students, both by employing deaf staff and by inviting a wide variety of people to meet students, but deafness is still something that has taken a while to find mainstream representation.

Simply by taking part in Strictly, Rose will have helped young deaf people to grow in confidence in their own identities, because they have been given the opportunity to see a strong, talented and successful deaf woman on their televisions every weekend.

For the Strictly viewers who might never have met a deaf person, or who previously had no idea about the barriers that exist on a daily basis for the deaf community, Rose has helped them to understand deaf people a little better.

Charity hails Strictly Come Dancing’s Rose Ayling-Ellis as inspiration to young Scots

Online searches for British Sign Language courses rose by nearly 500% over the past couple of months, and some course providers have found their enrolments have risen by 2,000%.

This heightened awareness that she has brought will hopefully have a lasting impact: the more people understand about the access needs of deaf people, the more likely it is that adaptations will be thought of and implemented where necessary.

I have a moderate, progressive hearing loss that started in my twenties and many years later I am still unsure of my own identity regarding my hearing loss. I have yet to write a character similar to myself, but I imagine there are many people in a similar position who would be glad of the representation if I did.

In my novels, I aim to include a wide variety of deaf characters, in order to portray the diversity of the deaf community – just as hearing people across the world use different languages, deaf people might use different communication modes, and have different life experiences, backgrounds, religions and nationalities.

My latest psychological thriller, Hide, features a young deaf woman who has bilateral cochlear implants, who finds herself forced to rely on her other senses when technology fails her in a life-threatening situation.

Deaf representation is finding its way into mainstream entertainment, including Marvel’s Hawkeye and Millicent Simmonds’ role in the horror film A Quiet Place, as well as Ayling-Ellis’s character in EastEnders.

Hopefully, in the future, positive representation will be the norm for all communities, but for now we’ll continue to celebrate every step that’s taken on the road there.