Accessibility statement

Translating the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire into British Sign Language

The issue

Research appears to show that Deaf children and Deaf young people have much higher rates of emotional and behavioural problems than hearing children and young people.

Assessment tools in English are not accessible for Deaf children and their families. Using such tools makes it hard to know how many Deaf 4 to 16 year olds have mental health problems. To help with this problem we’ve translated one such screening tool, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), into British Sign Language (BSL).

What is the SDQ?

The SDQ can be used to assess whether a child or young person has emotional or behavioural difficulties. It can be completed by parents or teachers or by the child, but is scored by a clinician. The SDQ is in widespread use: it’s been translated into over 60 languages and is used throughout the world.

What we did

An estimated 125,000 Deaf people in the UK use BSL as their main form of communication, so to create a signed version of the SDQ could have a major impact on the lives of Deaf children and young people, as well as their parents/carers.

To translate the SDQ into BSL we used a rigorous process to translate and check the questions on the SDQ. We used focus groups and a panel of experts to check that our translations would work for Deaf children and young people. The translation process fully included Deaf people.

The outcome

We measured the effectiveness of our BSL-translated questions by testing them with Deaf children - and then asking the same children to meet a clinical psychologist with experience of working with Deaf children. Test results show the BSL questions deliver the same effectiveness as meeting a psychologist.