To find out how our Auslan Journey began, first you would have to ask the question:
Who is Gail Smith?
I grew up with Deaf parents, as a CODA (child of Deaf adults)
I have 32 Deaf family members, including my parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins and my beautiful daughter, Tiahna.
My granddaughter also has a hearing loss and I have a gorgeous little Deaf French bulldog.
My native language is Auslan (Australian Sign Language)
Having Deaf parents meant that Auslan was the first language I was exposed to.
I have completed my Diploma of Interpreting and have been working as a NAATI qualified interpreter since 2006. I am lucky enough to work in the community in a wide and varying range of situations and settings.
Teaching Auslan has been a passion of mine and I have been teaching for over 20 years in various locations, including TAFE, with families in their homes, home schooling groups, Deaf Australia, Education Qld, private classes and the NSA (Nursing Student Association)
Advocacy is an integral part of who I am. I successfully spearheaded a Disability Discrimination case though the High court of Australia. The case was initiated in 2000 and continued for 6 years. In 2006 we were successful in obtaining Auslan in school for my daughter.
It was then that a national precedent was set across Australia where Auslan was to be the language of instruction in schools.
This gave Deaf children going to school, access to their own language, Deaf Adults the opportunity to be employed as ALM’s Auslan Language Models across Australia and giving employment to many EI’s (Educational interpreters).
Auslan Journey started in July 2019. As a CODA, mother of a Deaf child, and Auslan interpreter I witnessed and experienced many gaps throughout education, resource availability, advocacy, and basic access to Auslan. This started a massive shift of focus for me so I could start filling these gaps.
For many years I have been worked in the Deaf community, as an interpreter, Auslan teacher and an advocate but one of my biggest passions is to find and use reputable Auslan resources particularly those made by Deaf people and Deaf owned businesses, so I can give back to the Deaf community.
With so many barriers still existing today, I aim to do what I can to make more people aware and to push for positive change to be implemented. Improving access and the lifestyles of Deaf babies, Deaf children, their parents and families, anyone wanting to learn Auslan, professionals, educators but most importantly the Deaf community as a whole.
When Tiahna was born I wanted my daughter to have access to both worlds. To grow up Bilingually and Bi-culturally, to learn Auslan as her first language, to wear hearing aids to access sound and to learn English (written and spoken)
l started the Auslan Journey to help everyone access Auslan.
My ultimate goal is to promote Deaf awareness and allow Deaf people the same equal access to everyday life and the ability to strive to achieve everything they dream of.
Building Connections within both the Deaf and hearing communities is an important aspect to allowing awareness and access for everyone.
Bridging the gaps between the generations and cultures is something I have and will continue to do through everything I do.
Auslan is for EVERYONE - come embrace the Auslan Journey with us!
❤️ Love Gail xx
To find out about Auslan Journey's business practices click here