Ongoing commitment to the Deaf community saw a number of organisations and individuals recently honoured in Deaf Aotearoa’s 2013 New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) In Action awards.

...moreAwards Acknowledge Commitment to Deaf Community

Deaf Aotearoa applauds the findings from the Human Rights Commission’s Inquiry into the use and promotion of New Zealand Sign Language “A New Era in the Right to Sign: Report of the New Zealand Sign Language Inquiry”.

Read more: Hope That NZSL Inquiry’s Recommendations Will Be Implemented Swiftly

Recognising NZSL’s status as an official New Zealand language and wanting to gain an understanding of Deaf culture saw Little Wonders Childcare Centre embark on Think.Sign.Connect courses through Deaf Aotearoa.

The Wellington centre’s team of 24 has undertaken two workshops and a third is planned for later this year. Centre Manager Sarah Jimmieson says they worked closely with Deaf Aotearoa to ensure that the workshops were tailor-made for their needs.

“We have covered the basics, like greetings, as well as songs to teach the children. Each workshop has built on from the last,” says Sarah.

“Our team benefits from learning new skills, the children enjoy communicating in NZSL, particularly the signed singing and parents say that the non-verbal cues are very useful when communicating with their young children.”

Sarah says Deaf tutor Shannon Krogmann made attendees feel at ease with her teaching style.

“When we learnt the tutor was Deaf, we did wonder how we would communicate with her – but as soon as we met Shannon, there was no problem. She is a great teacher and there’s no talking allowed in the workshop, so we are fully immersed in NZSL.”

Deaf Aotearoa Social Enterprise Manager Becky Hadfield says it is particularly beneficial for the courses to be run by a Deaf tutor as it increases the participants’ understanding of what it is like being Deaf and the barriers to everyday activities that a Deaf person faces.

While Little Wonders Childcare Centre doesn’t currently have any Deaf students or parents, Sarah says it is important that they are prepared.

“Plus, as NZSL is an official language we believe we should have an understanding of the language.”

Becky says Deaf Aotearoa works with businesses, like Little Wonders, to offer personalised courses tailored specifically to meet the organisation’s communication needs and time commitments.

“The course introduces individuals to basic NZSL, enabling them to be confident when communicating with Deaf people. It also offers participants the chance to learn everyday conversational words and phrases, overcome communication barriers and promotes a greater understanding of the needs of the Deaf community,” says Becky.

“It is ideal for anyone who works with Deaf people, either as co-workers or clients, has Deaf friends or family members or just wants to learn this fun, visual language.”

Deaf Aotearoa also offers the Think.Deaf.Discover workshop, which provides training about Deaf culture, the Deaf community and overcoming communication barriers with Deaf clients, including using NZSL and interpreters, to ensure all customers receive a positive experience.

To find out more about Deaf Aotearoa’s workplace training programmes please contact Becky Hadfield on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 021 920 023.

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