This infographic and short video outline common Auslan phrases, and are designed to kick start your journey to create inclusive cultures for Deaf employees.
Auslan (Australian sign language) is more than just a language, says Darlene Thornton, CEO of MyAuslan. It’s a key foundation of the Deaf community and culture.
Learning some basic Auslan signs demonstrates to potential talent, clients and other important stakeholders that you are a deaf-friendly, inclusive organisation, says Thornton, who is a third generation native Auslan speaker.
“[However], if a Deaf employee joins your workplace… then you need to go further if you want to be truly inclusive. Investing in some in-depth Auslan education for the key staff members who interact with the Deaf employees or customers can make a huge difference to their experience,” she says.
Many Deaf employees can be screened out in recruitment process due to misperceptions about what they can and do, she says. However, this can mean an organisation loses out on securing highly valuable talent.
“Deaf people, by virtue of their life experience, often excel with traits like resilience, resourcefulness, adaptability and focus,” says Thornton. “Realising this potential to the satisfaction of both parties requires a commitment to inclusive work policies and practices,” she says.
It’s also important to remember that not all Deaf or hard-of-hearing employees use Auslan, she adds. Some prefer using hearing aids or lip-read to communicate with others. However, it’s thought that 20,000 Australians use Auslan to communicate, so it’s worth getting a grasp on some of the basics. The infographic and short video below are designed to start you off.
The Auslan alphabet
There is no ‘one type’ of sign language. It differs around the world. In Australia, most people use Auslan, which makes use of 38 different hand shapes, as well as finger spelling, and its alphabet follows the Latin alphabet.
Learn some common phrases
Learning how to converse in Auslan would take a lot of time and training, but there are a few simple phrases you can learn to better communicate with deaf employees, clients or other stakeholders.
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