Last night, ABC TV news reported on the national shortage of Auslan interpreters and commguides. Heather Lawson was featured. DBV is glad that this issue is getting some coverage in the media. The Deafblind community in Victoria is really struggling at the moment, with very limited access to commguides. The situation has gotten worse over the last couple of years. Thanks to Meredith Bartlett and all who stepped in to support Heather’s access to this event, where the Victorian government announced funding for Auslan training. Gayle Tierney, the Victorian training minister, said that Victoria will add Auslan to the list of free TAFE courses. This is great news! See the 2 minute news segment, with a transcript below.Click for transcript
There are many styles of communication in the Deafblind community. Some deafblind people grew up using spoken English and now want to learn Auslan. However, most resources for learning Auslan are visual. DBV has produced a new resource for blind and deafblind people, with a text description of the the Auslan alphabet showing each letter’s handshape, position and movement. This resource can be accessed in braille, through a screen reader, or in large print.
There are three versions: the Auslan alphabet for right-handed people, the Auslan alphabet for left-handed people, and Deafblind palm fingerspelling. This resource was developed by our wonderful volunteer KJ who continues to support DBV from home while we are in lockdown. We welcome feedback! Let us know if you found this guide useful, or if we can improve it in any way. You can download the resource by clicking on the links below for your preferred version:
In November, DBV gave two Deafblind World workshops to students in the Auslan course at Melbourne Polytechnic. Although we prefer to run the workshops face to face, that wasn’t possible due to lockdown. Their teacher, Fiona Goldab, organised for them to join us on Zoom instead. It is the first time we have run the workshops through video conferencing, and we think it was a great success. The students were wonderful and made their own blindfolds – many drew funny faces on them. They learned about the experience of Deafblind people, tips for guiding and communication, and tried to do some activities blindfolds on at their home. We hope some of them will become interpreters and comm guides in the future and work in the Deafblind community.