DeafBlind World Workshop, 16th Nov 2019 – Auslan students

Workshop participants practise tactile Auslan

On Saturday 16th November 2019 three DeafBlind DBV members ran another DeafBlind World workshop for Auslan students from Melbourne Polytechic and Monash University, a disability support worker and a digital accessibility analyst. It was a great opportunity to raise awareness about deafblindness. DBV hopes that some of the Auslan students will work with DeafBlind people in the future, as interpreters or communication guides (“commguides”).

Participants did activities wearing pinhole goggles to simulate tunnel vision, and then wearing full blindfolds and earplugs, to experience a little of the world that DeafBlind people live in every day. They practised signing in a visual frame, and tactile Auslan. After DBV member Gina Pontelandolfo gave a demonstration of how to guide a DeafBlind person, the participants took turns guiding their blindfolded partners through the corridors for some first-hand experience. There was a lively discussion with plenty of questions and answers.

Participants practise communicating by tracing block letters onto a palm

Their feedback from was that participants loved the workshop and learned a lot. Some found the goggles and blindfold challenging and scary, and many learned how tricky tactile signing is, but they enjoyed all activities and said the demonstrations were clear and helpful. They were left with more empathy and understanding of the emotions and experiences of DeafBlind people, and gave DBV a big “thanks” for the opportunity to learn.