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May 27, 2003

Displaying sign of a good sport

From: Sydney Hills News, Australia - May 27, 2003

DISABILITY sets you apart from the majority of society but for Naomi Hayman, deafness has created a unique community and it does not stop her in her chosen sport.

Hayman is moderately to profoundly deaf. She wears two hearing aids but is able to speak, lip read and sign.

Representing NSW, the 28-year-old recently returned from the Deaf Games, held in Sydney from April 11-20, with a gold medal for netball and a silver medal for basketball.

"I was born deaf," Hayman said.

"My parents didn't know I was deaf until I was two. At two-and-a-half I got hearing aids."

The administration officer at Centrelink Baulkham Hills says her employers have been supportive. She has been a Centrelink employee for 12 years and has spent five at Baulkham Hills.

Hayman uses a TTY telephone [tele typewriter] that allows her to communicate on the phone via a keyboard.

"I often interpret for a lot of deaf customers, I enjoy helping them," she said.

Hayman is married to Matthew who is also deaf. The pair are now building a home in Bella Vista.

Hayman has played basketball since the age of 17 with deaf teammates.

"I didn't meet any other deaf people until I was 14 and I didn't sign until then," she said.

"I can hear pretty well. I'm what's called oral deaf, I can speak and sign. We don't miss anything, that's our language basically.

"We have our own little culture, we are not from another country, you just understand each other."

The gold medal in netball was a bonus for Hayman, who only started playing this year as wing attack. In basketball, NSW could not match the strength of Victoria taking silver.

The next competition for Hayman will be the National Deaf Basketball Club Championships in Brisbane next year and the team are looking for sponsors. To assist call Jessica at The Hills News on 88537916.

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