Today is the International Day of Sign Languages.
The International Day of Sign Languages is a unique opportunity to support and protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all deaf people and other sign language users. The 2021 theme, declared by the World Federation of the Deaf, is ‘We Sign for Human Rights,’ highlighting how each of us – deaf and hearing people around the world – can work together hand in hand to promote the recognition of our right to use sign languages in all areas of life.
Access to language can occur in different ways and it is important to support the diverse communication preferences of deaf and hard of hearing children and families.
In Australia, Auslan is the language of the Deaf community and is used by an estimated 20,000 people. Auslan is a natural, visual-gestural language, with its own grammar, vocabulary and syntax which are expressed by using a variety of handshapes, together with specific aspects of orientation, location, movement and non-manual movements such as facial expressions and body movements. There are currently 38 different Auslan handshapes and 28 variations which make up thousands of signs.
VDEI acknowledges the importance of Auslan in the lives of many deaf students and their families in Victoria. In addition, VDEI recognises the importance of providing students with opportunities to study Auslan as part of the Victorian language curriculum. On the International Day of Sign Languages, VDEI would like to thank Teachers of the Deaf, Educational Interpreters, Auslan language models and school communities who provide access to language and learning for deaf and hard of hearing students throughout Victoria.
For more information about the International Day of Sign Languages, visit: https://www.un.org/en/observances/sign-languages-day