Sign Language News for:
Sydney's first restaurant to train its staff in sign language19 / 4 / 2018
If you’re familiar with the western suburbs of Sydney, you’ve probably heard of Rashays. The family-friendly casual eatery franchise, which first opened in Liverpool, has rivalled the likes of Hogs Breath Cafe and Sizzler since 1998 – it has more than 20 locations across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory and an extensive menu inspired by Italian, American and classic Australian fare. While the Rashays franchises are usually known for their meat and seafood dishes, the Punchbowl outlet has been garnering community attention for something else entirely: it will be the first restaurant in Sydney to make it mandatory for all staff to learn basic Auslan – Australia’s nationally recognised sign language.
Read more

Auslan national curriculum for Australian schools hailed as huge step20 / 12 / 2016
The first national curriculum for Auslan, the language of the deaf community in Australia, will soon be rolled out in schools across Australia, in a move being described as a huge step for equality.
Read on the ABC website

Canberra boy who learnt sign language to help his deaf friend wins humanity award1 / 9 / 2016
A young Canberra boy, who learned sign language to help his deaf friend at school, has won a special humanity award from the Fred Hollows Foundation.
Read more on the ABC News Website

iPads bringing interpreter access to regional deaf community24 / 3 / 2016
Auslan Connections is delighted to announce that from Tuesday 29th March 2016, Deaf and hard of hearing people around Queensland will have greater access to interpreters via iPads and Video Remote Interpreting (VRI).
Read more on the Auslan Connections website

Auslan student news a sign of the times in broadcasting7 / 9 / 2015
Inside the primary school with its own TV studio, where student reporters create news with a very important difference.
Editors Note: Klemzig Primary School doing great things - Again!
Watch the video

Charting signs of progress from a silent world18 / 3 / 2014
MOST parents can monitor the development of their children’s speech easily but it is not so simple for parents of deaf children.
Most deaf children are born to hearing parents who do not use Auslan — Australian sign language — and can’t gauge their child’s progress in learning a language.
To trace their development, researchers at La Trobe University and the Victorian Deaf Education Institute have developed the first Australian test to help learners.
Read more in The Australian

First deaf Australian to participate in Jury Duty24 / 1 / 2014
The deaf community hopes more Australian Auslan users will be able to participate in the jury process after a WA woman became the first deaf Australian to get through the summons and selection phase.
Read on SBS News

Schools first to sign on22 / 10 / 2013
SHENTON College and Mosman Park Primary School will be the nation’s first schools to introduce Auslan as a LOTE (Language Other Than English) subject.

Inaugural classes for the sign language of the Australian deaf community will be taught in Years 5 to 8 from next year.

Also, a customer has notified us that Zillmere North (now known as Taigum) in QLD, taught daily lessons on Sign Language in the late 80s and early 90s. We do not believe these classes still run.
Editors Note: Is it a breach of customer privacy to point out that both these schools have been using SignPlanet and our LOTE materials for some years?
Read full article

New program teaching NT kids to talk to the hand1 / 10 / 2013
The hearing-impaired children - who mostly live in remote communities - are taking part in the Talking Hands Residential School program.
The five-day program, which kicked off at Darwin's Kormilda College yesterday, allows the kids to meet signing students from across the Territory.
Hearing impaired teacher Vanessa Adzaip is showing the students - aged between seven and 17 - the Australian sign language Auslan.
"I am helping children from communities come together and learn Auslan," she said. "It's good to learn as it helps improve communication; it is important to learn as communication can bring people together."
Read full article in the NT News

Breaking the Sound Barrier27 / 8 / 2013
MILDURA South Primary School yesterday marked the start of national Hearing Awareness Week by silently singing the national anthem.
Australian sign language (Auslan) teacher Melissa Powell said staff had begun learning sign language about eight years ago to assist a “profoundly deaf” student.
Now students learn the silent language from Prep through to Grade 6.
Read more in the Sunraisia Daily

Auslan to be taught at SunniTAFE27 / 8 / 2013
THE Mildura campus of SuniTAFE has introduced the teaching of Australian sign language (Auslan), which is used by people with hearing impairments in Sunraysia.
Auslan uses a combination of hand shapes, facial expressions and the orientation and movements of hands, arms and body to communicate.
After the success of the introductory Auslan course in August, a further “fee for service” intermediate short course will start in October.
Read more in the Sunraisia Daily

From Latin to Auslan, we have got it covered13 / 6 / 2013
JUST more than one in five (22 per cent) Australian residents does not speak English at home. That's one of the key findings from the 2011 census, which shows more than 400 languages are spoken domestically in Australia.
This includes more than 250 speakers of Latin, a further 121 who speak what the Australian Bureau of Statistics defines as an "invented language" (and who cluster in the hills of Belgrave South, 40km southeast of the Melbourne CBD) and 8400 who use sign language.
Read full story in The Australian

Deaf Toowoomba man shares benefits of sign6 / 6 / 2013
JAMES Kerwin would love to see more people using sign language in Toowoomba - and his new course will be a step in that direction. Mr Kerwin, who is deaf, said learning Australian sign language, or Auslan, had "tremendous" benefits. "It helps you to communicate with deaf people you know and come across. You get to learn another language that is very useful (and) it helps you to think visually and spatially," he said. "The biggest challenge for people learning Auslan is thinking visually and not in English. "It is a separate language with its own grammar and structure."
Read more

When technology provides hands-on help for hearing18 / 4 / 2013
A new iPad app is letting patrons at a St Kilda Road cafe brush up on their Auslan, while paving the way for deaf and hearing impaired people to enter the workforce.
Now, a grant from the Australian Centre for Social Innovation means customers can watch a short video of an Auslan interpreter sign their order before they place it themselves. Lets customers get their macchiatos in a muddle the video plays simultaneously on the staff member's device.
Read more in The Age

Sharp decline in deaf students at NI universities27 / 3 / 2013
Five years ago, 240 people with severe hearing difficulties enrolled at university; now there are 95. ... He blamed a reduction in support from the Department of Employment and Learning to meet the needs of the deaf. The department denies reducing funding.
Read more at the BBC website

Lifeline for sign language course4 / 11 / 2012
THE state government will revive Victoria's only remaining sign language diploma course as it moves to stem the damage of Ted Baillieu's TAFE cuts.
From the middle of next year, anyone who wants to learn Australian Sign Language will be subsidised by the government in a newly revamped Auslan training program.
The decision to reinstate the course comes after Kangan Institute — which now runs the state's only sign language diploma — told students in May that it could no longer offer Auslan beyond 2013 as a result of the government's budget cuts. GippsTAFE also withdrew its Auslan program last year.
Editors Note: Finally some give on this important issue ... Now who is good at winning tenders?
Read more in The Age

Seen and now finally heard25 / 8 / 2012
I was working with a group of people who exploit vision every day. Their stories, both oral and written, were graced with subtle detail and nuanced observations. The tales revealed the relentless challenges and frustrations of being deaf.....
I also learnt that signing is a language of subtlety and complexity, an intimate expression of community that contains within it a rich but often hidden tradition of storytelling. It unites the deaf community through a shared culture and oral lore handed down through the generations.
Editors Note: This article provides great coverage of what it means to be deaf and how sign strengthens the community and the individual
Read the article

A swing of the government axe and the deaf penalty25 / 5 / 2012
I WAS busy at work when the text came. The Auslan diploma course at Kangan Institute had just been axed, yet another course lost through the slashing of state government funding to TAFEs. I sat rereading the text in disbelief.
Editors Note: Great opinion piece concisely discussing why the Kangan Batman Auslan course (and any Auslan course) is so important to the Deaf
Read in The Age

Parliamentary launch - Childrens Visual Dictionary3 / 5 / 2012
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you here to Parliament, and to be a part of the launch of the children’s visual communications dictionary. This dictionary is very special. Not only will it act as one of the first tri-lingual dictionaries that represent the three official languages of Aotearoa, it also goes a long way towards enhancing the ways that we communicate with every member of our society, especially our most precious tamariki.
Editors Note: Great that the second edition of the Bilby Publishing NZSL dictionary for children has received such a launch.
Read the full speech

Useful adjudicator role2 / 5 / 2012
Mr Bonser turned his ability to communicate with the hearing impaired into a job in the 1980s and during the Queensland 2010 and 2011 floods he assisted former Premier Anna Bligh to deliver updates on television. ... But Mr Bonser's most recent role was as the adjudicator of the school signing choir section of the Rockhampton Eisteddfod yesterday. ... Organiser Dr Les Killion said as far as he was aware the local eisteddfod was the only one which included the signing-choir section, which has been a part of the popular event for up to 12 years.
Read more in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin

Signing the sounds of silence2 / 3 / 2012
In 1990, Mr Priori discovered his favourite past-time - deaf karaoke. “When I first started, I was teaching a basic Auslan course two hours a week for five weeks and right at the end, we thought we would go out to a pub together and have dinner and not use our voices,” Mr Priori says. “We looked and saw karaoke going on and I thought hang on, maybe we could all get up there and sing ... I could sign and others could sing or I could sing and others could sign.
Editors Note: Great to see Deaf Karaoke as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival
Read in the City Messenger

Shannon returns with host of medals31 / 1 / 2012
OVERCOMING tremendous adversity, Wagga athlete Matt Shannon has accomplished what many would percieve as nearly impossible...
“I have always been athletic ... I play indoor volleyball in men’s and mixed and touch football in over 35s in the Wagga competition,” he wrote. “It’s hard to communicate with the other players but I can easily play a position....
Shannon said he found his home among other hearing-impaired athletes at the nationwide tournament as they communicated freely with Auslan, the Australian sign language, with the other competitors he now calls friends.
Editors Note: Congratulations to all those who participated in the Deaf Games. Hope you all had a great time.
Read full article in the Daily Advertiser

Signs of times as Melbourne theatre heeds deaf30 / 1 / 2012
When the Sydney-based actor steps on stage in Tribes this week, he will become the first member of the deaf community to play a leading role for MTC, according to the company's general manager, Ann Tonks.
Read more in The Australian

New role for Nepean TAFE teacher1 / 12 / 2011
CLAREMONT Meadows resident Steve Ripley has been chosen as an ambassador for a statewide campaign - Don’t DIS my ABILITY - to help promote the diversity and achievements of people with a disability. Mr Ripley works at TAFE Western Sydney Institute as a communications trainer with people who are deaf and blind. He acted in an Australian theatre production of Children of a Lesser God, which mirrors his life as a teacher of Auslan and independent living skills to young deaf people who have vision impairments.
Editors Note: Read more about the Ambassadors at Dont DIS myAbility
Full article in the Penrith Press

RIDBC Thomas Pattison School celebrates8 / 11 / 2011
THE Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children's Thomas Pattison School at North Rocks has celebrated the first birthday of its volunteer reading program. The program was established to provide additional English literacy opportunities for those students at the school who communicate in Auslan (Australian Sign Language) and English.
Read in the Hills News

ACE Releases Annual Report in 3D Auslan Video31 / 10 / 2011
Australian Communication Exchange (ACE) has released its 2010-2011 Annual Report highlighting ACE’s achievements over the past year and Vision for the year ahead. “The annual report was translated into Auslan and made available in 3D, an Australian first for Auslan users. This is testament to ACE’s Vision of inclusion and accessibility for all,” said ACE Chief Executive Officer, Sandy Gilliland.
Read more on IT Wire

Picking a winner for top honour26 / 10 / 2011
LISA Picking has been part of the Girl Guides and Scouts for most of her life, and has now earned one of the organisation’s top honours.

... her quest involved learning Auslan, swing dancing, providing breakfast to students at Springvale Primary School and taking Christianity and Buddhism meditation courses.
Read more in the Moorabbin Leader

The divided culture of the Deaf19 / 10 / 2011
Outrage in the deaf community over comments made by Dr Dimity Dornan, Queensland's Business Woman of the Year, has prompted Simon J. Green to dig a little deeper into deaf culture, and ask why not everyone wants their disability cured.
Read more on ABCs Ramp Up Website

A deaf poker comp? You can bet on it!15 / 10 / 2011
These are the 120 deaf poker players who will be in Adelaide next weekend for the third annual Australian Deaf Poker Championship - the first in a casino poker room. The players communicate using Auslan sign language during games and use hand signals to communicate with the dealer and other competitors.
Read in Adelaide Now

Hearing world's their oyster for sign interpreters10 / 9 / 2011
SHEENA Walters is the only hearing person in her family while Colin Allen was born deaf in a non-hearing family. Together, they make a formidable team as executives of the Deaf Society of NSW, based in Parramatta. But their influence goes beyond the state, and even Australia, in their international roles representing the needs of the deaf community worldwide. Ms Walters, operations manager at the Deaf Society, was elected the Australasian and Oceanic representative for World Association of Sign Language Interpreters at the recent WASLI general members meeting in Durban, South Africa. At the same time, Mr Allen was elected president of the World Federation of the Deaf.
Read the article in Parramata Avertiser

Polyglot Announces International Touring Schedule11 / 8 / 2011
Polyglot is performing in five languages and in four countries, living up to its name which comes from the Latin for "many-tongued". Their show Muckheap will be made into an Auslan (Australian Sign Language) version later this year, which will tour Deaf schools in 2012. Australia's Polyglot Theatre continues to take its renowned interactive and experiential theatre for children aged up to 12 to the world.
Read more and book here

Twists in Budget Woes, Tensions Over Teaching Deaf26 / 7 / 2011
At the root of the tension is a debate that stretches well beyond Indiana: Will sign language and the nation’s separate schools for the deaf be abandoned as more of the deaf turn to communicating, with help from fast-evolving technology, through amplified sounds and speech? “Speaking and listening classrooms across the nation are known for their forced exclusion of A.S.L. and expressly forbid any contact with the culturally deaf adult role models,” Marvin Miller, president of the Indiana Association of the Deaf, who is deaf, said in an e-mail interview. “We view this as inflicting violence upon thousands of innocent deaf and hard-of-hearing babies — taking away their language and pinning their hopes on dismal success rates of cochlear implants,” he added.
Editors Note: This US debate has parallels with Australias Hear and Say Centres
Read the full article

10-Year-Old Hero Saves Best Friend Using Sign23 / 6 / 2011
In Oklahoma earlier this month, two boys -- Hunter, 10, and Carter, 9 -- were playing together like young boys will. They were giggling and eating gummy worms, when all of a sudden Hunter knew something was wrong. He knew it was wrong because his best friend, Carter, was doing the international sign for choking. At first Hunter thought he was joking, but he quickly realized it was the real deal and sprang into action.
Editors Note: Yet another reason to learn sign language!
Read more on Cafe Mom

Standup aims to break silence on deaf comedy31 / 5 / 2011
Being deaf or hearing impaired may be no laughing matter, but partially deaf comedian Brad Hearne thinks comedy can be found anywhere and should be accessible to everyone. “I started off with a few jokes and then realised I could make a show about it,” Herne said. “I’m making the point that you really don’t have to walk on eggshells when it comes to people with hearing difficulties or disabilities.
Read at The West

Learning sign language at school21 / 5 / 2011
The Catholic College Sale has been offering Australian Sign Language or AUSLAN to its year 9 students since 2008.
Read more at the ABC blog

Zoe: a lesson in determination6 / 5 / 2011
TODAY Zoe Fawcett will do what doctors told her was impossible. Born severely deaf, Ms Fawcett, 24, will today graduate as a teacher from La Trobe University. Ms Fawcett will graduate as a primary and secondary school teacher and is teaching Auslan (Australian Sign Language) at Bendigo South East College.
Read in the Bendigo Advertiser

National Anthem performed in sign language5 / 5 / 2011
As part of New Zealand Sign Language Week 2011, which started on Monday, Deaf Aotearoa have produced a DVD with performances of God Defend New Zealand in English, Maori and NZ Sign Language (NZSL). The DVD was launched with a performance on the steps of Parliament this morning - the first time the anthem has been sung there in all three official languages.
Read more at 3news

Auslan goes Android at Sports Museum4 / 5 / 2011
An 18-month project involving the National Sports Museum in Melbourne and Australian Communication Exchange (ACE) has yielded Auslan descriptions delivered through Android devices. Visitors can borrow one of six devices provided by the museum, or run the application on their own smartphone or tablet.
Read the article on iTWire

Sign language mistaken for gang signs3 / 5 / 2011
Police say two hearing-impaired men were stabbed at a bar when their sign language was mistaken for gang signs.
Read at

RIDBC students share the positive26 / 4 / 2011
The Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC) helped their students recognise Anzac Day with sensory cues. The day was designed to awaken all senses with rosemary for touch and smell, a slide show of war images for a visual connection and a short film playing the national anthem in both the Auslan sign language and captions.
Read article in Hills News

School transport plea falls on deaf ears18 / 3 / 2011
A PROFOUNDLY deaf girl promised decent school transport by Ted Baillieu is being forced to spend four hours a day on a bus to and from class. Kate McGuigan, 13, who cannot speak and has sight and sleeping disorders, yesterday made a personal plea to the Premier to reverse a government decision that has almost doubled her daily travel time. Kate was among several deaf children photographed with the then Opposition Leader when he attacked Labor for cutting school transport services for disabled students in 2006.
Read more at the Herald Sun

ACCAN report slams National Relay Service14 / 3 / 2011
...ACCAN is calling for an increased commitment from state and territories to ensure emergency announcements are automatically interpreted into Australian sign language (Auslan). “During the Queensland floods, we had a situation where some television networks included the Auslan interpreter in emergency information broadcasts and unfortunately, some who chose not to,” she said. “The ACMA needs to work with Free TV, the ABC and the SBS to ensure Auslan interpretations and open captions are included in all emergency broadcasts so that all Australians have access to this vital information.”
Read more at ComputerWorld

100,000th Auslan interpreting appointment booked14 / 3 / 2011
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, today recognised the vital role the Australian Government'sNational Auslan Interpreter Booking and Payment Service (NABS) continues to play in the deaf community. This month marked the 100,000th time Australians who are deaf have used the Australian Government's interpreting services for their medical and health consultations.
Read at FAHSIA

Deaf lawyer in milestone appearance11 / 3 / 2011
Geebung lawyer Kathryn O’Brien has heralded a new era in Queensland legal practice, appearing in court for a client and communicating via sign language.
Read in The Chronicle

WANT some sound career advice?8 / 3 / 2011
WANT some sound career advice? Ditch what you're doing and take signing. It's the growth industry of the next decade and, better still, there's a serious shortage of experts in Auslan, the language of the deaf community in Australia. Ever since Anna Bligh took charge of updating the nation on the Queensland floods in January with a signer beside her describing the calamity to the deaf, signers have become the new must-have of the live press event. Signers have been front and centre - well, just off to the side - at a number of recent press events The Wry Side has attended, and were out in force in New Zealand to help Christchurch mayor (and former NZ This is Your Life compere) Bob Parker update the nation and the world about the tragedy.
Read in The Australian

NSW Deaf Soc. launches Auslan Sexual Health Site21 / 2 / 2011
In late 2010, the Deaf Society of NSW obtained a grant from Sexual Health Week (which is supported by NSW Health) to create an online resource, "How much do you know about Sexual Health?". This resource aims to increase the awareness of sexual health issues and promote healthy sexual relationships to young deaf people aged 16 to 25 years.
Read more at VicDeaf

Casey schools lost in translation14 / 2 / 2011
SCHOOLS in Casey are failing to provide second-language classes for pupils. Pearcedale Primary School, which has more than 20 hearing-impaired students, does not offer conventional language classes but teaches Australian sign language Auslan in more informal settings. One of the major hurdles to increasing language classes in schools was a lack of teachers, he said. "Teachers who have given up being LOTE teachers have gone into general teaching because the conditions they've had to endure just aren't acceptable.
Read the full article

More of SignPlanet.net11 / 2 / 2011
Today over 1,000 new sign images where added to SingPlanet. "There is not only new images, but revisions of old images and a revised database - more descripitons, hints and an overall tidy-up" said Bilby Publishing Director and Founder, Lee Bilby

Deaf dog gets sign language training10 / 2 / 2011
A dog who couldn't hear has learned some sign language thanks to inmates at a US prison and children at a school for the deaf. Inmates at a Missouri prison trained the deaf dachshund named Sparky in sign language and then asked the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton to take him in. Today, Sparky is right at home with the school's youngsters, who have taught him additional sign language. And a second deaf dog, a Boston Terrier named Petie, may be on his way to the school soon.
Read more on Stuff

Deaf studies at Kedron High3 / 2 / 2011
Nineteen Kedron State High School Year 11 students have received their Auslan Certificate 2 in deaf studies. The school runs the course because it’s of interest and benefit to the students..
Read in the Northside Chronicle

Languages boost for primary schools1 / 2 / 2011
EVERY Australian student will be required to study a second language for at least 300 hours before year 7, with Chinese and Italian the first to be taught under the national curriculum. The president of the Modern Language Teachers Association of Victoria, Andrew Ferguson, said the group was pleased to see the range of languages for which curriculums would be developed, but was "most disturbed" that classical languages and Auslan had been excluded from the list. "This is a serious oversight on the part of ACARA and an insult to the deaf community and teachers of Auslan and classical languages," he said.
Read in The Age

Auslan News on SBS21 / 1 / 2011
The Queensland floods have brought the issue of Auslan interpreting of news and announcements to the front of mind, with interpreters from Deaf Services Queensland there all the way. A Facebook group is seeking to build on this with a petition calling on SBS to broadcast a weekly half-hour news program with Auslan presenters.
Editors Note: We encourage anyone with a Fabebook account to "like" this
LIKE now

She took the words right out of Bligh's mouth15 / 1 / 2011
When Queensland Premier Anna Bligh made her memorable emotional media conference, Australia’s deaf community turned to Michelle Stark. Ms Stark became an unwitting part of Queensland history when she was assigned to Anna Bligh’s Thursday morning media conference, in which Ms Bligh’s voice broke with emotion in one of the most poignant moments of her premiership. Sign language interpreters, all volunteers co-ordinated by Deaf Services Queensland, have been a regular feature in emergency briefings during the past week’s flood crisis.
read the SMH article

Help for deaf LGBT14 / 1 / 2011
The Deaf Gay and Lesbian Association (DGLA) of NSW has plans for a unique entry into the Mardi Gras Parade, and will hold workshops during the year for deaf people looking to utilise the communicative aspects of newer technology. The DGLA’s planned Parade float is an ambitious, multi-sensory experience designed to give bystanders some understanding of what life is like for deaf people. The theme of the float, See The World Through Deaf Eyes, reflects DGLA’s focus on the positives of deaf life — the more acute sense of smell, sensitivity to noise vibration and heightened range of vision common to many deaf people. “We will use spray containers with different scents like chocolate, vanilla, orange, lemon and lime. We will also be asking volunteers along the parade to teach the audience to sign applause by shaking the hands rather than clapping, and our surprise backpack puppets will teach people how to say ‘I love you’ in sign.” Deaf Finnish rapper SignMark, popular among the hearing-impaired as his music resonates at a frequency that can be heard or felt, has given permission for his music to be played from the float.
Read the full article in the Star Observer

Capturing the spirit of Woodford6 / 1 / 2011
Filmaker Darmin Cameron and Producer Paris Naday have taken out the 2010 Spirit of Woodford Video Award. The film follows Auslan signing interpretor Jasmine Phillips as she interprets the funny antics of comedians on stage for the benefit of the people with hearing disabilities in the audience.
Editors Note: This article give a great introduction to some of the issues in sign interpreting, and how the comedians mess with that!
Read the article in the Echo news

Adam Schembri to Head Deaf Studies Institute2 / 1 / 2011
We had known for some time that the National Institute for Deaf Studies (NIDS) was without a director, and that one would be announced soon, but I was surprised to be surfing the net and run into Adam Schembri's facebook page where he announces that he is to be the director from Jan 2011. At the time of writing there is nothing on the La Trobe website!
Editors Note: Congratulations Adam, we look forward to working with you in your new position!
Adams Facebook page

Janelle wows judges15 / 12 / 2010
Janelle was named the 2010 Deaf Australian Youth of the Year in recognition of her “exceptional efforts and dedication” helping other young deaf people. With her father interpreting her sign language, Janelle said she was surprised when she received the award as she did not know she had been nominated. Working at Deaf Services Queensland for the past two years, Janelle said she wanted to encourage young deaf people to realise their dreams.
Read the article in the Logan West Reader

College 16% Increase in Study of Sign Language8 / 12 / 2010
While the number of college students studying Spanish, French and German increased only modestly from 2006 to 2009, enrollment in American Sign Language — the fourth most-popular language — surged more than 16 percent, according to a new report from the Modern Language Association.
Read the NY Times Article

Talking in signs20 / 11 / 2010
When a person uses sign language to communicate, they use their hands as well as mouth – but now a study has found out whether the two are used in unison or separately. Researchers David P. Vinson and colleagues at University College London found that the hand and lip movements are separate in the signer's brain, not part of the same sign. The team recruited both deaf and hearing signers, all of whom grew up signing with deaf parents. Each person sat in front of a monitor with a video camera pointed at them. They were shown sets of pictures and were asked to sign the name of each item. In another session, they were shown those words in English and asked to translate them into British Sign Language.
Read in The Times of India

UF professor, born deaf, triumphs over difficulty10 / 11 / 2010
“My mother would point to a picture, and then to the word,” Tuccelli said. “She also tried teaching me lip-reading, but that wasn’t very effective.” With his own children, Tuccelli took a different approach. He has three hearing children who could all sign to a certain extent before they could actually speak, something Tuccelli sees as an advantage. Tuccelli said exposing his children to sign language improved communication with their parents because associating signs with concepts and words was easier and faster than learning the sound. Plus, early exposure to signing enhanced their imagination. Now, Tuccelli teaches three levels of American Sign Language at UF. Learning ASL is proven to increase job security and IQ levels, Tuccelli said. Ninety-three percent of communication is nonverbal, making it important to be aware of body language, he said. American Sign Language takes this concept and enforces it, making everything from hand gestures to facial expressions important in conversations.
Read about it in the Alligator

New Zealand Sign Language Techers Conference10 / 11 / 2010
The NZSLTA will be holing its annual conference Storyfest 2010 from Friday 26th to Sunday the 28th of November.

RIDBC Celebrates 150th Anniversary25 / 10 / 2010
On Friday 22 October, staff and volunteers joined together to celebrate the day the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children opened the first school for deaf children in Australia and began teaching deaf students in Sydney. 150 years on, RIDBC has grown to be a national service provider, with almost 1000 children with vision or hearing impairment and their families receiving vital support each year. It provides hearing and vision screening to thousands more.
Read more at RIDBC

$9.2 Million Institute For The Deaf for Victoria18 / 10 / 2010
A new $9.2 million deaf institute to be established in Melbourne – the first of its kind in Australia – is set to break new ground in teacher training and education. “Through this Institute, teachers from across the state will have the opportunity to upgrade their qualifications, hear from experts in the field or undertake further study, which will be delivered in conjunction with universities and tertiary providers.
Editors Note: Ms Morand said “There is growing evidence that students with special needs can benefit significantly from using digital technology to further their learning and we want to tap into that and give these students every opportunity to experience all the benefits of a hi-tech education.”, something SignPlanet has always believed.
Read full article

Tradeblock Cafe serves up a winner16 / 10 / 2010
Tradeblock Cafe at the Victorian College for the Deaf has been steaming along since opening last year. The practical training initiative, seven years in the realising by teacher Amanda Joyce in partnership with the Victorian Deaf Society (Vicdeaf), has now received a $50,000 Local Impact Award from Schools First.
Read at the Stonnington Leader

Smoke alarm aid for hearing impaired14 / 10 / 2010
QFRS Brisbane region assistant commissioner Ian Mitchell said individuals could apply for a voucher to be sent to them to spend on a special smoke alarm. These residents can also obtain a copy of the free DVD ``Catching Fire’‘, which has been produced in consultation with Deaf Services Queensland. ``This DVD is tailor made for people who are deaf or hard of hearing and features AUSLAN interpretation and captions to demonstrate how to make an emergency phone call via 000 and the 106 TTY number,’’ he said.
Full article here

Deaf staff add diversity13 / 10 / 2010
Tim Helg has five deaf men among his 15-strong team of car groomers at Giltrap Prestige Motors in Grey Lynn - and he says they are "fantastic" employees. "They're my best workers," he says, "and they make me laugh every day - they've got a great sense of humour." Helg's deaf employees are aged between 26 and 50-something. All use New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) and can lip-read; one has some hearing with a hearing aid and can help his workmates if necessary.
Read in the NZ Herald

Sign language recognized in Sri Lanka23 / 9 / 2010
Sri Lanka has accepted sign language as a recognized language in the country. The recognition of sign language will guarantee the hearing impaired in the country access to information and equal opportunity in the society. The Minister said the public officials would be encouraged to learn the sign language.
Read more

Woman who chats with chimps in sign language18 / 9 / 2010
Dr. Mary Lee Jensvold of Central Washington University works with chimpanzees, she doesn’t just observe them from behind a glass window. She signs to them in American Sign Language (ASL). And the chimpanzees sign back.
Read in the Eagle News

Centre celebrates 20 years16 / 9 / 2010
KATHLEEN Costello died in 1987 but her legacy of a centre for the deaf and hearing-impaired was celebrated yesterday. Classes in lip reading and Auslan are held there every week and it is also home to the Maryborough branch of Deaf Services Queensland.
Read full article in the Fraser Coast Chronicle

ASL third most popular language in US14 / 9 / 2010
Sign language, although often overlooked as a foreign language, is the third most widely used language in the United States. Out of every 1000 Americans, two to four are either severely or functionally deaf by the age of 18, making sign language a necessary tool to understanding others in society.
Full article

Cochlear implant helps Abby tune in to big world8 / 9 / 2010
LIFE'S soundtrack is becoming clearer every day for little Abby Paulet. Last month, the three-year-old became the 2000th person to receive a cochlear implant at the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital. Abby and her family will still learn AUSLAN sign language to ensure that Abby can interact with both deaf and hearing people.
Read the full Herald Sun Article

Engineers test sign language on cell phones16 / 8 / 2010
Engineers at the University of Washington are testing a tool called MobileASL that uses motion detection to identify American Sign Language and transmit images over U.S. cell networks
Read about it on cNet

Kinect to recognize American Sign Language7 / 8 / 2010
Microsoft's forthcoming $150 full-body motion-, facial-, and vocal-recognition technology, Kinect, will read lips, track toe movement, and recognize sign language for those who cannot speak. According to a Kinect patent filed by Microsoft recently, those capable of communicating through American Sign Language standards will be able to input letters, words, and phrases using the imminent technology.
Read full article on Gamespot

Service for deaf people fails4 / 8 / 2010
Ms Raxworthy is profoundly deaf but was unable to access an interpreter or a TTY phone system when her husband was admitted to hospital in an emergency last week. Queensland Health apologises for any distress experienced by Mrs Raxworthy and her family ...
Read the Fraser Coast Chronicle Article

'Don't ban sign language' says Deaf at Vancouver23 / 7 / 2010
Thunderous applause and tears greeted presenters at the 21st International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (ICED 2010), which was held in Vancouver this week, when they called for countries around the world to embrace sign-language-based educational programs for deaf students. Congress participants, both deaf and hearing, celebrated the July 19th statement formally rejecting the resolutions made at the ICED 1880 Congress in Milan, which "removed the use of sign languages from educational programs for deaf around the world". After over a century of fighting to have sign languages acknowledged and supported by educational organizations, the Deaf community sees the ICED 2010 statement as a groundbreaking step. While previous attempts to reject the Milan 1880 resolutions failed, many say the years of restricting deaf children's access to sign language robbed them of the ability to reach their full potential. This week's history-making statement, called "A New Era: Deaf Participation and Collaboration", rejected the idea that sign languages should be banned from educational programs for deaf students. It also expressed regret at the detrimental effects of the Milan 1880 resolution, and asked educators all over the world to "ensure that educational programs accept and respect all languages and all forms of communication".
Read in the Vancouver Observer

New Direction for Deaf Theatre30 / 6 / 2010
The Australian Theatre of the Deaf (ATOD) is delighted to announce a new partnership with Arts Access Victoria that will secure the future of this unique Australian performing company.
Editors Note: Great to see ATOD has this new partnership.
Read full article

Sign of musical enjoyment18 / 6 / 2010
Deaf children sometimes miss out on the joy of musicals, but next week they'll get to see childhood favourite Wombat Stew on the big stage thanks to Auslan interpreters.
Read the article at Shepparton News

Sign Language Legalized as First Language-Iceland31 / 5 / 2010
Members of the Icelandic Association of the Deaf celebrated the legislation of Sign Language as their first language on Friday. Among those celebrating was six-year-old Andri Fannar Ágústsson, who will now be able to use Sign Language as the first language in his education and other preparation for the future Icelanders are frontrunners in the development of Sign Language and such a conclusive recognition as the government has now given Sign Language has not been made anywhere else in the world, according to Dadi Hreinsson, managing director of the Icelandic Association of the Deaf.
Read in the Iceland Review

Deaf services great, but more interpreters needed7 / 5 / 2010
New services available to Deaf people are being welcomed with open arms – but a lack of interpreters can still make communication with the hearing world difficult. The biggest problem, Ms Brady says, is the lack of interpreters. “I’ve been involved in a car crash before and there was no interpreter or anything, I went to hospital – no interpreter. I told them I needed one but they didn’t get one. In ended up going home, but they said I needed to stay – I ended up going to my own doctor who understands my communication.”
Read more on 3news

Try your hand at a NZ sign language taster class5 / 5 / 2010
How many Kiwis can interpret sign language? Only around 30,000 – even though over 220,000 people in New Zealand identify as Deaf or having a hearing impairment (2006 Census). So why so few? Is it really that difficult to learn?
Read on 3news

Signed performances for childrens theatre26 / 4 / 2010
Capital E National Theatre for Children is putting on two signed performances of its production, The Farm at the End of Road, to celebrate New Zealand Sign Language Week running from 2 to 8 May. “I’m really enjoying the challenge. I’ve never signed anything quite like this before with such a young audience, and a lot of puppetry and singing,” Thornton says. “Sign singing, as it’s called, can be difficult. The signed translation has to capture the meaning of the song but also the rhythm and pace. You also have to sign more dramatically with a song than you do for dialogue.”
Read more

Local first responders learn sign language21 / 3 / 2010
The Hidalgo County Judge’s Office Division of Emergency Management is teaching first responders the basic sign language they need to communicate with the Rio Grande Valley’s estimated 8,000 to 9,000 deaf and hearing impaired residents. Cameron County is also hosting the classes, which teach police officers, firefighters and other emergency responders practical phrases and words like, “What’s wrong?,” “Show me your license,” and “Calm down.”
The training gives first responders the basic lessons they need to communicate with deaf people. Where an interview is needed, the police department brings in an interpreter, but emergencies necessitate a faster method of communication.
Read the Article

Melbourne International Comedy Festival10 / 3 / 2010
There are more and more events being Auslan Interpreted each year. This year Auslan interpreted performances include Arj Barker, Joel Creasey and of course the fabulous 'unspeakable' events, which feature great Australian and international Deaf comedians. You will find a full list on the official site, just click the link
Deaf Access - Melbourne comedy festival

All the world's a stage - some can't get in6 / 3 / 2010
The news this week was upbeat: Australians are increasingly embracing the arts ... less palatable news: people with disabilities and migrants from non-English-speaking countries are being left behind.
Editors Note: This article cover progress, and the lack thereof over a range of disabilities from wheelchair accss to movie captioning and Auslan interpretation, in the lead up to the Accessible Arts conference Arts Activated at the Powerhouse Museum on March 25 and 26.
Read the article

Children put their hands up for Auslan1 / 3 / 2010
One person really can make a difference. There are 402 students at Diamond Creek East Primary School and each and every one of them learns Australian Sign Language, known as Auslan, as their Language Other than English (LOTE) subject. The school introduced Auslan as its official LOTE subject in 2008 after teachers noticed that some of the students had begun to use sign language to talk with a classmate, Sarah, who was born with profound deafness.
Read a copy of the article at the DCA website

When bluffing falls on deaf ears27 / 2 / 2010
THE felt table will be an even playing field for the NSW Deaf Championship where your best asset is a mean poker face. Sokong Kim, founding member of Deaf Poker Australia, organised the first Australian Deaf Poker Championship in August, 2009, and he said the response was overwhelming.
Read the full article

Signing off on the Olympics27 / 2 / 2010
Nigel Howard was scheduled to do sign language interpretation today for a University of Victoria play. That all changed when the 2010 Winter Olympics Games asked him to sign the closing ceremonies on Sunday.

Schools offered interpreters via videoconference26 / 2 / 2010
A Melbourne based interpreting service has written to 1,000 NSW schools offering interpreters via videoconference, a service it says could be delivered through the schools’ Connected Classrooms.
Editors Note: We would be very interested in knowing how many schools actually have the Tandberg equipment installed.
Full article, here

Tip-of-the-Tongue Moments Explained26 / 2 / 2010
It's one of the most frustrating feelings: You know the word exists, and you know what it means, but you just can't spit it out. Researchers tested people who speak two languages, as well as deaf people who use American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate. Emmorey and her colleagues found that yes, signers did experience tip-of-the-fingers, and about as often – roughly once a week – as speakers do.
One of many articles under the research title

Social club makes deaf happy24 / 2 / 2010
LIVING in a quiet world can be hard, but one social group in Rockhampton is determined to bring together the hearing impaired to break down those barriers.
Editors Note: To contact the Rockhampton Social Deaf Club, text mobile 0447 014 973 or contact D-link on 4938 6000 on Wednesdays.
Read the Full Article

Sign of the times24 / 2 / 2010
A Brighton solicitor is ready to blaze a legal trail as Queensland’s only deaf lawyer. Ms O’Brien relies mainly on email, Skype and the national phone relay service to communicate with clients and she said having access to a solicitor who communicated via signing was a boon for deaf people. She said she had to rely on interpreters during university lectures and tutorials. "The interpreters used a different form of sign language to me too so I had to learn it from scratch, which made it a little more difficult," she said.
Read more at The Chronicle

Fee hike sees end to night classes12 / 2 / 2010
Sigh language night classes have been canned in Manawatu after a fee hike made them unaffordable. Queen Elizabeth College Community Education executive officer Pearl Parker said it was disappointing. Fees went up due to the Government's Budget cuts in May 2009, which hit nightclasses across the country, and although former Minister of Tertiary Education Anne Tolley said NZSL would continue to get funding, nightclasses in the region say they haven't received any.
Read the full article

An engineer's quest to caption the Web9 / 2 / 2010
The Internet used to be a place where Ken Harrenstien could do anything. The Google engineer, who has been deaf since childhood, loved the Web because he could e-mail and chat without the aid of a sign language translator. But as the Web evolved and got faster, online video started to flood in. And all of a sudden, this place that once allowed for limitless communication started to feel walled off to Harrenstien. But Harrenstien isn't sitting back and complaining. He's dedicated his career at Google to developing technology to bring closed captioning to the Internet.
Read the article launches Photo Bank27 / 1 / 2010
Chris Bilby, Chief Programmer, said "Now you can have coloured photo's instead of clipart appearing in the worksheets you make, plus we've changed the worksheet generators so that you can have just the photos or clipart, without sign images. You can make resources for use with other special needs kids, or general students who don't use any sign language at all."
Go to

Teen seeks sign of new friends14 / 1 / 2010
FRIENDS wanted. Must be typical teenagers and be able to do sign language. But the thing holding him back is that he is deaf and communicates face to face with sign language, and he is yet to meet others his age in the region like him.
Editors Note: Anyone in the Yeppoon area should track down Jost and Leah for a get together!
Read the Full Article

Govt. fails to subsidise for cochlear replacement9 / 12 / 2009
In one story among many, deaf-blind Michelle Stevens has been told that the Government would not subsidise a $8000 cochlear implant replacement. Michelle has had a cochlear implant since 1992 and says that she uses her cochlear "almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week" and that it was a vital part of her life. VArious deaf-blind organisations (including Able Australia and the Australian DeafBlind Council) have seconded her call, saying that "They make an enormous difference to people's lives. It can be the difference between being able to leave home or not." and that hiring an interpreter instead can be costly. The Senate is performing an ongoing enguiry into this matter.
A related article in The Age

Gone wild7 / 11 / 2009
IN A rehearsal room in Alexandria, deaf actor Alex Jones and hearing actor Russell Smith are going wild. They fight and roll and wrestle together in a tight embrace, under the watchful eye of director Caroline Conlon. It's rough and sweaty work for a warm afternoon. ...... The Wild Boys is an original show from the Australian Theatre of the Deaf. Now in its 29th year, Australia's only professional deaf theatre company does most of its work touring schools nationally, performing to more than 18,000 students a year. This is its annual professional show.
Read the Full Article

A new Auslan Dictionary15 / 10 / 2009
Bilby Publishing today launched it's new dictionary. Lee Bilby today said "It includes many signs never before documented, but more importantly, this is the first dictionary to every include descriptions of how to perform the sign along with hints, context notes and clipart."
Editors Note: Another demonstration of the power of the database, even in print form. SignPlanet is still the place to watch the associated videos.
See the website for more details and page samples

Holly Loach's Musical Miracle20 / 9 / 2009
Grand-daughter of famous film director Ken Loach, Holly Loach has astounded and delighted her parents by learning to play the piano at a professional level. Holly, who is 10, has been deaf since a meningitis illness at 13 months. Her parents, both musicians, were estatic with her abilities as they had been told that Holly might never interact with instruments and music. Dispite this Holly has become an accomplished piano player, winning a number of national awards.
Editors Note: Here is another link to a related Daily Express article:
Link to a Mail Online Article

Deaf student sues La Trobe University8 / 9 / 2009
Deaf student Mariana Crvenkovic is suing La Trobe University for "failing to provide skilled interpreters and frequently forcing her to prove that she was deaf." Ms Crvenkovic has said that La Trobe claimed to provide support but that for one of her lectures there has been no interpreter and the note-takers supplied have not been taking proper notes. La Trobe denies this, claiming, "La Trobe employs trained note-takers. This training is conducted by the university and usually involves high-performing students who are undertaking studies in the discipline and therefore best placed to take notes." And, "We employ level 3 Auslan interpreters from VicDeaf where possible. This is the highest level of accreditation."
Link to a related article from The Age

Deaf dog learns sign language6 / 9 / 2009
BEING a border collie, Pixie is blessed with natural smarts - all the better to help the eight-week-old pup learn sign language. Professor Stanley Coren from the University of British Columbia found the average dog can understand about 165 words, signs and signals, while the cleverest dogs could grasp as many as 250 words and signals.
Read the full article

Medical students experience a lesson in empathy29 / 8 / 2009
The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry has collaborated with the local deaf community to run a program for 100 first-year medical students. The program aimed to show the students what it was like to be unable to communicate clearly by placing them in an environment where they could not speak to each other and had to consult "Health Professionals" (deaf society members who signed back to the students their diagnosis). The students had to convey to the "Health Professionals" their symptoms and try to figure out what they were diagnosed with from the signed prompts. One student, India Johnson, commented on the difficulty of trying to communicate in different circumstances, saying, "It's very frustrating." And "It's confusing. At each step, you don't know what's going on. You can't relate to them what you want to relate."
Link to a corresponding article

New Technology for Deaf-Blind People23 / 8 / 2009
A two-piece portable device has been recently released by the Canadian company HumanWare. It is called the DeafBlind Communicator and allows easier communication between Deaf-Blind people and non-signing individuals. The DeafBlind Communicator is a laptop-sized device that features two keyboards, one of which is in braille, and a second smaller device that resembles a PDA. The smaller device is given to the non-signing individual and the deaf-blind individual sends the message "Hi, I am deaf-blind (I can't hear or see). To communicate with me, type a message and press the return arrow." The return message is then converted into braille and displayed using the braille keyboard.
Link to corresponding article

Foilek wins X Games2 / 8 / 2009
Deaf teenage motocross contestant Ashley Foilek has placed first in the Women's Moto X Super X on Saturday night. She spent most of the race neck and neck with award winning Jessica Patterson, only to overtake on the last lap. Foilek was delighted with her win, signing "This year I was really motivated. I came out here and had a great race."
Editors Note: Here is a link to the X Games article:
New York Times Article

VCD's Tradeblock Cafe open for business28 / 7 / 2009
In many ways the new Tradeblock Cafe at the Victorian College for the Deaf resembles hundreds of trendy cafes dotted around Melbourne. The cafe was officially opened last week after several years of hard work and is completely staffed by deaf senior students from the college, who use sign language to communicate orders.
Read more at the Stonnington Leader

Asphyxia mixes marionettes and Auslan workshops21 / 7 / 2009
Asphyxia is a renowned performer who is passionate about marrionettes and educating her hearing audiences about deaf culture. In her most recent tour, Asphyxia has been running free Auslan workshops for her audiences. The Grimstones has been described as "an enchanting fairytale." “If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, Edward Scissorhands and The Addams Family, then you’ll really enjoy The Grimstones, which I would describe as an enchanting fairytale for kids and adults alike,” Asphyxia commented.
News article relating to Asphyxia's tour

New Zealand Sign Language Week5 / 7 / 2009
New Zealand Sign Language Week was launched with the help of mayor Len Brown and Deaf Aotearoa New Zealand. In an attempt to raise awareness of sign language and the deaf community various activities are being held around the country, such as free sign language workshops, information booths and signed performances. Also being held is the Deaf Short Film Festival, which is taking place in Wellington, and a performance by visiting American deaf stand-up comedian John Maucere.
Link to corresponding article

Silent shame of Cherbourg school1 / 7 / 2009
There's an article in today's Courier Mail titled "Silent shame of Cherbourg school where pupils can't hear teacher".
A new study says that up to 90% of students at the school have a hearing loss due to ear infections. Teachers wear microphones and classrooms have speaker systems to help cope.
Editors Note: This is not new news, it's something that we've been going on about for a few years. It's good to see that surgeons are now making noise on this one
Courier Mail Article

Your Workplace Rights - Videos in Auslan30 / 6 / 2009
The NSW Office of Industrial Relations has launched a new section of it's website. It provides information on your workplace rights in relation to applying for a job, industrial relations systems and pay and leave entitlements. Video's are available in high and low bandwidth versions for broadband and dial-up internet users.
The video's were prepared by the Translator Service at the NSW Association of the Deaf
View the auslan videos

Reform for carers of children with disability30 / 6 / 2009
An extra 19,000 carers of children with severe disability are expected to qualify over the next 12 months for Carer Payment (child) as legislated reforms come into effect from 1 July. Other changes to a range of family assistance, pension rates and thresholds will also apply from tomorrow. The qualification for carer payment (child) has been changed from the previous narrow medical model and now recognises and assesses the impact of caring for children with disability or medical condition.
Editors Note: Welcome changes. We're now a step closer to them assessing the reality of the situation instead of ticking diagnosis bozes. Hope staff have been given good training in the new assessment proceedures.
The ALP Website

Further Measures To Improve DisabiIity Rights30 / 6 / 2009
Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, today welcomed the passage of the Disability Discrimination and Other Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 through Parliament.

The Bill will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our anti-discrimination system and clarifies the obligation of employers, service providers and other parties to remove discriminatory barriers for people with disabilities.

“These reforms will contribute to ensuring that our laws continue to promote greater equality, equal opportunity and a fair go for people with disabilities” said Mr McClelland.

The Attorney-General has also signed a declaration under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act 1986 to enable the Australian Human Rights Commission to conciliate complaints based on breaches of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Mr Shorten said the declaration gives the Commission power to consider disability rights under the Convention and enables it to report to Government on how the Convention is being implemented.

“People with disabilities will welcome these further steps in recognising their human rights and contribution to the Australian community,” said Mr Shorten.

These steps are a further demonstration of the Rudd Government’s commitment to enhancing human rights for all Australians.
Secretary for Disabilities Website

Hearing Screening for all Australian babies29 / 6 / 2009
The Australian Government will seek a commitment from States and Territories to deliver newborn Hearing Screening for all Australian babies from 1 January 2011. Presently, only 75 per cent of newborns are screened. This varies from over 95 per cent in some States and Territories to less than 40 per cent in others.
Editors Note: This is most excellent. I hope that they explain that follow up testing will be needed when they pass 9 months to test for conductive loss
ALP Media Release

Further Measures to Improve Disability Rights25 / 6 / 2009
Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, today welcomed the passage of the Disability Discrimination and Other Human Rights Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 through Parliament.
The Attorney-General has also signed a declaration under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Act 1986 to enable the Australian Human Rights Commission to conciliate complaints based on breaches of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Mr Shorten said the declaration gives the Commission power to consider disability rights under the Convention and enables it to report to Government on how the Convention is being implemented.
Media Release at the Attorney Generals Dept.

Commissioner Hunt calls for a NZSL Commission5 / 6 / 2009
After the recent release of the Deaf People and Human Rights Report, Human Rights Commissioner Robyn Hunt highlights the need for a New Zealand Sign Language Commission. Ms Hunt commends New Zealand on its actions so far but points out that more actions need to be done about the shortage of sign language interpreters in schools. She believes this could be furthered by a New Zealand Sign Language Commission, who would address the issues being faced by New Zealand Deaf and hearing impaired people, in a similar way to the current Maori Language Commission.
Link to corresponding article

Program to help people with disability into work12 / 5 / 2009
The 2009-10 Budget provides funds for the pilot which is part of the Rudd Government’s National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy and is designed to encourage employers to provide jobs to people with disability. The trial program will encourage employers to create more employment opportunities for people with disability and give Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients the chance to demonstrate their skills.
Ministers Press Release

Investigation into special needs funding -go legal1 / 3 / 2009
The Public Schools Principals Forum has conducted a survey, collecting responses from 800 schools. Almost 80 per cent of the principals who responded rated the funding for special needs or disabled children - many of them in mainstream classes - as either poor or very poor. The PSPF is considering whether this level of support breaches the Disability Discrimination Act.
Editors Note: The website has the survey results report as well as media articles relating to their campaign
Principals website

College's VCE result a sign of big success18 / 12 / 2008
Students and Teachers at the VSDC are celebrating excellent results in VCE and VCAL. The college came third in the state of Victoria's government schools.
Editors Note: Well done all!
The Age Website

From dog days in the territory to gallery top dog11 / 11 / 2008
WHEN retired teacher Joie Boulter devoted her life to looking after a disabled Aboriginal boy, she had no idea that a few years later she would be sitting in a swanky Top End gallery with Darwin's arts fraternity, sipping champagne and toasting the boy's artwork. Boulter met him at Tennant Creek High School when she was still teaching. Dion had never been taught sign language. Unable to communicate, he lived in a silent, isolated world, his development severely delayed.
Editors Note: This is a really positive story with many good points - well worth the full read.
The Australian Website

So you think the deaf can't dance? Beat it31 / 3 / 2008
To elitists, it's just not dancing. To an army of krumping, breaking, freestyle-popping dancers in the deaf community, So You Think You Can Dance Australia is essential viewing. .... "Some deaf people were amazed when they saw us perform at a conference dinner because they assumed we would be a professional hearing hip-hop group," Onley-Zerkel said.
Read the Full Article

Deaf community invited to parliament1 / 10 / 2007
Members of the Deaf Community were invited to visit Queenslands Parliament during question time as a initiative of National and Labor parties members who know Auslan
The Age Website

Musical Sign of the Times14 / 9 / 2007
This article is about Signing Karaoke, which has become hugely popular. This one in Northcote was being run by Asphyxia
Editors Note: We're big fans of Asphyxia and saw her when she visited Bega. She tours the country, so watch her website for tour news - or better still get funding to bring her to your area
The Age Website

Qld govt investigating 380 school staff17 / 7 / 2007
This article discusses the outcomes of complaints cases against the QLD Dept of Education. At the very bottom it talks about an out of court settlement of over $50,000 for a child claiming discrimination because their school did not offer Auslan
The Age Website

Government includes sign language in curriculum15 / 3 / 2007
In a bid to make sign language mainstream the New Zealand government has introduced NZSL into its school curriculum. This follows it being identified as a priority in the New Zealand Action Plan for Human Rights. The Human Rights Commission states that their aim is to provide deaf people with equal communication rights to "ensure equal participation for Deaf people in all areas of life."
Editors Note: the related article can be found at

Schools to put sign language on curriculum15 / 3 / 2007
New Zealand is set to become one of the first countries in the world to introduce sign language into the school curriculum. It follows the enactment of the New Zealand Sign Language Act 2006, which made sign language an official language. The Deaf Association has hailed it as another step forward in giving signing equal status to spoken languages.
Read in the NZ Herald

Slides: A Playground Menace8 / 6 / 2006
For most kids, the static electricity that builds up as they go down playground slides does little more than make their hair stand on end. But for thousands of hearing-impaired children, static can shut down their cochlear implants in an instant. One idea is to coat the slides with an antistatic material. For the time being, however, children with cochlear implants should stay away from plastic playground slides. (Metal slides don't pose a great risk -- at least one playground designed for the disabled has installed them to protect implant-wearing kids -- but they get hotter in the summer.)
Editors Note: American article with worldwide relevance
Read the full article on Wired

First AUSLAN HSC Student4 / 11 / 2005
The forthcoming 2005 HSC exams mark a major milestone for the NSW Deaf community and education equality. Nineteen-year-old Fawad Qaiser of Baulkham Hills is believed to be the first student to sit the HSC in New South Wales who has been completely educated using the native language of the Deaf community, Auslan (Australian Sign Language).
Read more at the RIDBC

Gail Smith & Devlin Family vs Qld Gov Final Ruling15 / 4 / 2005
A five-year legal battle with the Education Department came to an end for two Queensland families today. Each of the families includes a child student who's profoundly deaf. Their parents wanted classroom interpreters to be employed so both children could be educated in the sign language known as Auslan. But Education Queensland has fought them all the way.
Editors Note: This was a watershed moment in the history of auslan in Queensland schools. Do a web search and find out more about this case.
ABC Stateline Trasnscript

Deaf children create new language20 / 9 / 2004
Children with hearing disabilities, thrown together in a school in Nicaragua without any type of formal instruction, have invented their own sophisticated and evolving sign language, researchers report. Their observations show that children, not adults, are key to the evolution and development of language, the researchers reported in Friday's issue of the journal Science.
Read more on AlJazeera

New Zealand Sign Language videos1 / 6 / 2004
In the lead up to the New Zealand Sign Language Bill's passage thrgouh parliament, the Office for Disability Issues released videos explaining the process in NZSL to their website.
Editors Note: They will be adding more videos to this section, so check back periodically.

New developments in keyhole surgery19 / 10 / 2001
British doctors have recently improved the Cochlear Implant process by perfecting a new keyhole surgery technique. This new technique allows the incision to be limited to half an inch long instead of six inches. It also allows surgeons to operate on younger children than previously allowed, meaning that the child has the chance of picking up vocal language at an earlier age. Developing professor Gerry O'Donoghue comments that the technique aims to "reduce the psychological effects as well as the physical scarring, because this could often deter children or prospective parents from considering implantation as an option."
Telegraph UK Article

Tasmania's diverse range of languages celebrated as part of Hobart Language Day 22 / 4 / 18
TASMANIA’S diverse range of languages has been recognised with a Hobart event celebrating all things spoken and signed.The fourth staging of the free family-friendly Hobart Language Day was held yesterday at Mathers House in Bathurst St.

Jodee Mundy gets Personal about Auslan16 / 4 / 18
When artistic director and performer Jodee Mundy was six, a teacher hauled her up at school assembly to answer personal questions about her family’s deafness (Mundy is the only one with hearing and Auslan is her first language). It’s hard to imagine a kid being grilled like that these days: to make it worse, her teacher didn’t even bother obtaining parental consent.

Melbourne Festival Makes Sure Attendees Of All Abilities Can Enjoy The Music 13 / 4 / 18
"We've got Auslan interpreters signing the whole main stage - we've got rappers who rap so fast, so I've got no idea how they're going to do it." The event attracted some big-name Aussie acts, including Flight Facilities, Client Liaison and Owl Eyes.
Read more

Dylan Alcott's Inaugural Ability Fest Raises Close To $200000 For Charity 9 / 4 / 18
The first ever Ability Fest attracted 5,000 punters to Melbourne's Coburg Velodrome over the weekend, raising nearly $200,000 in support of the Dylan Alcott Foundation. Appearing on triple j's Breakfast program this morning, Paralympian and organiser Dylan Alcott dubbed the festival, "one of the best days of my life". "Nobody cared about their race, gender, sexual orientation, and most importantly, their disability," Alcott said.
Read more

Former Grafton family sign our anthem to the world6 / 4 / 18
THEY didn't make a sound, but their actions were heard around the world last night. For former Graftonians Matt and Sarah Lysaught, their entire family was featured as part of the Australian National Anthem during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony on Wednesday night.

Cafe with deaf baristas teaches customers to order using sign language3 / 4 / 18
A cafe in far north Queensland is teaching staff and customers Auslan to help talk to staff members who have difficulty hearing. A local cafe owner in Cairns is teaching staff and customers to order coffees in sign language after taking on six employees with hearing impairments.
Read more

Giving deaf people a voice in the workplace27 / 3 / 18
Dan Jarvis is highly driven. But it’s not just a desire for personal advancement that gets him out of bed in the morning; the HR consultant is on a mission to advance the careers of deaf people everywhere. When he is awarded with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) at The University of Queensland (UQ) at his graduation ceremony in July, Dan believes he will become only the third deaf MBA graduate in Australia, and the first deaf person in Queensland to achieve the honour.
Read more