Communication comes in many, many forms. We see it everyday through written, verbal, and digital words. We see it through hugs, body language, hand-holding and expressive gestures. These are only a few of the ways we see two beings interact around us, but one form of communication that is more prevalent around us than we may think, is the art of sign language.
1 in 6 Australians are affected by hearing loss and 30,000 Australians experience complete hearing loss altogether. Living without a sense creates great adaptability in a person, and for those who live with hearing loss, sign language is a way of communicating with others both with hearing and without. Speaking with sign language is the same concept as speaking orally. People who communicate with sign language have just as much to say as those who speak with their mouths and it is not a characteristic that should isolate members of our society.
The art of sign language is just one way that deaf people communicate. Other ways include oral communication actually. Those with hearing loss can often times read lips and interpret oral communication spoken by another. How cool is that? A fun fact for you: Australians that use sign language for daily communication are also known as Auslans. Humans are able to use other functioning senses to compensate for a sense with lesser functionality and this is why adaptability is such an important trait of ours!
Many of our heroes are skilled in signing as a result from personal experience or from learning the art for practical use. This is a desirable skill for many of our members looking for assistance! Hero Wally is a native Auslan who grew up in a family where both of his parents were deaf. Throughout his life, Wally saw the need for inclusion and assistance for his parents and other people affected by hearing loss while out in the community. Wally's profile shows his genuine passion for helping others and how communicating with his parents helped him to grow as a person.
"From the start, this established an attitude in me that when people act in a negative or self-defeating way, it is sometimes a reaction to the prejudices and stigmas about them held by society. To change this, they need people to reach out to them, show support and be their friends so they can flourish."
Wally specializes in helping members with hearing loss needs, so if you or a loved one are in need of assistance, Wally is your hero! The rest of Wally's interests and passions are on his profile which can be seen here!
Projections for 2050 indicate that 1 in 4 Australians will experience hearing loss. Learning how to communicate with individuals with impaired hearing is the first step into being a helping hand and a more accessible companion. Hearspace lists many ways that we can better our communication skills with all people, including those with partial or full hearing loss on the Hearspace website.
Learning new or better ways to communicate with people in various forms is helpful in allowing our heroes to be of the most assistance to all members. Remember, speaking is not the only way to communicate. In fact it is just one of many, many ways to interact with those around us. If you are looking to step up your Auslan game, there are many resources available in our community for you to do just that!
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