The National Deaf Children's Society is lobbying the Department for Education and Skills for £100,000 to radically improve family sign language training in the UK.
The charity has conducted a specialist family and children sign language course in 10 pilot areas, the only one of its kind in the country. The charity believes that if rolled out nationally, the course could help empower parents to be better advocates for their children.
Spokeswoman Sarah Brown said: "The course has helped families interact and improved communication between parents and their children. Parents can't act on their children's behalf if they can't communicate with them."
A total of 221 people attended the course and more than 80 per cent of those reported an improvement in their child's self-esteem.