“We believe every deaf child has the right to communicate in the way that suits them best, and for many deaf children, this means being bilingual in both English and Auslan,” said Karen Lloyd AM, Executive Officer of Deaf Australia. “This announcement brings us one step closer to realising this goal for young deaf Australians and will change how Auslan and deaf people are perceived by a new generation of Australians, both deaf and hearing.”
The curriculum recognises the connection between young people learning their native language and achieving a secure acceptance of their own identity and helping them to develop a wider recognition and understanding of their language and culture. Many bilingual deaf Australians often identify with Auslan as a native language and find it more effective to communicate and learn using Auslan. This does not exclude the value of English, but further emphasizes the need for bilingual learning.
“It will also be valuable for hearing children to have the opportunity to learn Auslan as a LOTE and develop a better understanding of deaf people and culture,” explained Ms Lloyd.
“By including Auslan in the National Curriculum, the Government is setting a standard for Auslan and raising public perception and community understanding of this language as a core communications tool of the Australian deaf community.”
Deaf Australia looks forward to advising the Government on the development of the Auslan curriculum.
Deaf Australia is Australia's peak advocacy organisation run by and for deaf people. It represents the views of Deaf people who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language). We represent and promote the advancement of human rights and equality for deaf people by collaborating with members and stakeholders, and influencing governments to implement the United Nations Conventions on human rights and disability.