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New service to strengthen sign language development

New service to strengthen sign language development

Education Minister Hekia Parata today launched a new Family Whānau Sign Language Facilitator service to support deaf children to develop a strong first language.

The new service will see parents and deaf children learn New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) from experienced sign language facilitators at home and in community settings.

The Ministry of Education is contracting Deaf Aotearoa to set up the service and employ facilitators to provide the service in partnership with the Ministry’s Advisors on Deaf Children.

“Sign language is the natural language of the deaf community. This service will help parents to communicate with their deaf children and raise them to be confident in their linguistic and cultural identities,” Ms Parata says.

“Every child starts out using non-verbal communication and they easily pick up on visual communication such as gestures and expression. This new service will encourage the use of sign to give deaf babies and young children a head start with language development and as a foundation for future learning and academic success.”

The service will start in Wellington initially and be progressively rolled out throughout New Zealand.

These initiatives are part of the Government’s response to the 2013 Human Rights Commission (HRC) Inquiry into NZSL.

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