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Understanding the access and inclusion experiences of deaf, deafblind and hard of hearing people who use Auslan: a review of the Australian research literature

Authored by: Gabrielle Hodge
Published: February 2024

Nearly a century after deaf individuals in Australia first sought self-determination, the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2013 has improved social equity. However, persistent barriers rooted in historical racism and eugenics continue to affect deaf and disabled Australians, leading to ongoing social and economic disparities. The lack of understanding of the diverse experiences of deaf Auslan signers, including First Nations people, migrants, refugees, deafblind, disabled, and neurodivergent individuals, hinders the quest for collective liberation. Deaf Australia’s research projects, funded by an Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) grant, aim to address these gaps through qualitative interviews and the Deaf Census. The findings, based on empirical research and co-production of knowledge, shed light on access and inclusion issues and reveal creative solutions by deaf signing individuals. This research seeks a more progressive path toward self-determination for all deaf signing people in Australia, starting with a thorough review of literature on education, employment, healthcare, and language policy.

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