A group of staff from Seniors Rights Victoria (SRV) and COTA Victoria recently attended Deaf Awareness Training, with Expression Australia at the John Pierce Centre.
Established in 1884, Expression Australia is a not-for-profit organisation created by and for the Deaf Community. Expression Australia works to empower people who are Deaf or hard of hearing, to overcome barriers in their life and choose how they want to live. Expression Australia provides supports and links to services for Deaf people, as well as offering Auslan interpreting and captioning services and training for anyone outside of the Deaf community.
The John Pierce Centre (JPC) operates as an independent not for profit company. It's a member of Catholic Social Services Victoria. The Catholic Church supports JPC by providing the premises as a Deaf Community Centre. The services of the JPC are available to all Deaf people and include family support programs, counselling and adult education opportunities.
SRV and COTA Vic staff developed an understanding that 'Deaf' with a capital d is used to describe a culturally deaf person, who uses sign language. The Deaf community has a rich and diverse culture. The official language of the Deaf community in Australia is Auslan. Auslan has been was recognised in Australia as a community language since 1987.
Attendees learnt about the unique syntax and grammar of Auslan and some useful tips and tools for non-Deaf people to use when communicating with people in the Deaf community.
The session was extremely interesting. Staff enjoyed the session, learnt a lot, and several staff said that they were inspired to seek further training, particularly to learn Auslan.
SRV and COTA Victoria would like to thank Expression Australia, the John Pierce Centre and staff members Gary Ferguson and Margherita Riccioni for coordinating this fantastic training session.