Can you imagine going shopping without being able to ask anyone a question, or hear his or her answer?

Communication is important for everyone to express what is important to others and in return actively listen to other people to understand what is important to them.

“I like to go to places where people can do some signing.” Colin is deaf and Auslan is his language. Together with Jimmy, his hearing dog, Colin does his regular grocery shop at ALDI.

A hearing dog is just like an eye-seeing dog. When he goes to the supermarket with Colin, Jimmy wears a jacket – that is his uniform and that alerts everyone he is working and they can’t pat him.

Golden City Support Services support worker Janelle supports Colin in his day-to-day communications at work and out in the community.

“We always get lots of attention when Jimmy is with me and my support person Janelle,” says Colin. “Between the three of us, there is a lot of signing happening without any sound!”

“That is how we met Brad while shopping. He asked us to show us some signs – so I showed him ‘Hello’ and ‘How are you?’.”

“Then, the next week Brad remembered the signs for ‘Hello’ and ‘How are you?’ I showed him ‘How much?’ Then the next week shopping I showed him some more signs!

“One day when we went into the shop three different people signed to me ‘Hello’ and ‘How are you?’ – Brad taught people in his team how to talk to me!

Above: Colin and Brad demonstrate how to say ‘Hello’ using Auslan.

“It was exciting to teach other people my language. To help everyone learn and remember, Janelle and I created a poster for their tearoom of Auslan signs.

Next time Colin went shopping the team at ALDI presented him with a gift. “They were so happy with the Auslan sign we created they gave me a present – to say thank you for teaching them sign language. I love that they gave me a gift!”

Above: Colin and Brad demonstrate how to say ‘Thank you’ using Auslan.

Recently the Manager of Colin’s local ALDI enrolled for an Auslan course. He says that “I like talking to people and having the skills to talk to anybody is really important.”

Above: Colin and Brad demonstrate how to say ‘How are you?’ using Auslan.

“To give the best possible support we need to know what is important to a person,” says Ian McLean CEO of Golden City Support Services. “Communication is key to knowing someone well and is the foundation of our team’s support practice.”

Here is a great resource that supports learning and conversation between Auslan and English for your ipad.