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.

 How does it work?

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.

Our sessions are individually tailored to meet our collective needs

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.

First Signs:

  • 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.

“Watching our son’s language development is fantastic. First Signs gives us the skills to communicate as a family.”