The National Deaf Children's Society (NDCS) was set up to support the 35,000 deaf children and young people in the UK. They've developed a fantastic range of resources for anyone who works or interacts with deaf children. As they point out, "The majority [of deaf children] are educated in mainstream schools alongside their hearing peers. Some of these children are the only deaf child in their class, or even the whole school. It is vital that their hearing friends learn how to be deaf aware."
One of the things that they've created is an excellent guide on tips for communicating with deaf children, most of which also apply to adults, such as making sure that if you're talking to someone who's deaf then you don't cover your face, stand with your face to the light and reduce background noise.
All good tips for speaking to someone who can speak and/or lip read, but what about using British Sign Language (BSL)? It's estimated that there are around 30,000 to 70,000 people for whom BSL is their first language, with the total number of people using it on any given day as high as 250,000.
learning how to fingerspell...will increase the number of people you can communicate with.
That said, learning how to fingerspell or perfecting a few key phrases is relatively easy and will massively increase the number of people you can communicate with.
The communication charity Signature have leant on this idea and turned bus stops into sign language lessons by teaming up with an app that lets you watch translations of phrases while you wait for your transport. And if that whets your appetite to learn more, Signature are the place to start looking for a course where you can learn BSL.
To learn particular signs, there are some good choices online - British Sign have an online dictionary with drawings of signs. While Sign Station have a great video dictionary where you can watch a video of someone using the sign you want to use.
The Squeamish team are entirely hearing and we can't give you a proper insight into the depth and variety of Deaf culture or British Sign Language, but if you're interested in learning more start with the links above.