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December 3, 2002

Education by Hand - Auslan

From: ABC Regional Online, Australia - 03 Dec 2002

Presenter: Genine Unsworth

How to sign penis and other embarrassing moments in sex education class.

Gena McLean is an educational interpretor at Australind SHS in regional Western Australia. She's one of three people who intrepret for hearing impaired students using the sign language Auslan.

Gena began signing so she could communicate to a fellow worker at her employment. The man was the butt of jokes by other workers at the abbatoir which offended Gena's sense of social justice!

What started as a good will gesture has led to a full time position at the school assisting a Year 9 student on a one to one basis. It's a job that has its funny moments.

The sign for Welcome involves simply moving the fingers back and forward in an inviting manner.

The alphabet signs are the simplest way to 'spell' something out.

But communicating letter by letter could take a long time indeed. Auslan uses concepts instead. The signs themselves use combinations of hand shapes, position, palm orientation, movement and other aspects of facial expression and body language.

Put the signs together and they say Welcome to the ABC.

Gena McLean

Using your face and other tips on how to be a good signer.

Related Links:
Some of these links may be to sites outside the ABC and as such the ABC has no editorial control over such sites.

The West Australian Deaf Society -
You might like to find out more about signing and Auslan. The WA Deaf Society web site is one place to start.

© 2002 ABC