What is First Signs?
A nationwide Deaf Aotearoa service for Deaf and hard-of-hearing children aged 0-5, supporting families and whānau with:
- Learning New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL)
- Language development
- Learning about being Deaf/hard-of-hearing in Aotearoa
- Connecting with other families and Deaf role models.
First Signs brings NZSL into the home and family/whānau environments, making learning NZSL fun.
First Signs Evaluation Report – September 2019
This evaluation identified the outcomes of Deaf Aotearoa’s First Signs service through document analysis, a literature review, and views of families who are currently or ever part of First Signs service, Advisors on Deaf Children (AODCs), two leaders of the First Signs service, and then interviews with a sample of families.
113 families participated in an online and paper-based survey that asked what they thought of the outcomes for their child (28% response rate).
33 AODCs participated in an online survey that asked for their opinion of the outcomes for the children on their caseload (83% response rate).
This evaluation concluded that First Signs provides a valuable service that has significant social impact on its service users, for both child and the family. Overall, feedback from the survey and interviews suggest that the First Signs service has had substantial impact on the well-being, identity, and communication skills of deaf children.
Download the full Evaluation Report here: DOWNLOAD
Evaluated by: Fitzgerald & Associates for the Ministry of Education
First Signs is all about ensuring families and whānau feel well supported, confident and equipped to support their deaf/hard-of hearing child in achieving their full potential.
How does it work?
First Signs is provided through a mix of home visits and web-based support from Deaf Aotearoa Facilitators.
Visits can be weekly, fortnightly or monthly depending on the family’s needs. Visits can be at home, or even at the park!
First Signs provides information and resources and always respects each family’s decisions.
- Supports and monitors NZSL language development
- Works with Advisors on Deaf Children (AODC) and other professionals involved with the family, e.g.: cochlear implant programme, audiologists, Deaf Education Centre staff
- Supports transition to ECE and/or school.
“Our sessions are individually tailored to meet our collective needs“
“Watching our son’s language development is fantastic. First Signs gives us the skills to communicate as a family.”