Several Port Adelaide Football Club players will use sign language to celebrate a goal at their inaugural AFLW clash to inspire deaf students they met through the club’s healthy lifestyle education program.
- Port Adelaide Football Club has run its first AUSLAN class
- AFLW players taught the hearing-impaired students about eating well
- The club wants the program to be more inclusive
The club has been running the program in South Australian schools since 1999 but for the first time, an AUSLAN interpreter has been added to the class so deaf and hard of hearing students could be included.
All 17 Brighton Primary School students had a hearing impairment during the class last Wednesday, and AFLW players Liz McGrath, Gemma Houghton and Tess Doumanis helped inspire them to be active and eat well.
Houghton said programs like this allowed everyone to feel “like they belong to this club”.
“This is the first AUSLAN session we’ve done and to be a part of that, I feel very honoured and proud. We like to see ourselves as an inclusive club,” she said.
“There were lots of laughs involved and obviously they got my jokes about walking your cat or dog.
“They’re amazing, bright students and being able to connect with them makes all this special.
“They taught us some sign language – Port Power – which a couple of us have said in round one, if we kick a goal that will be our celebration.
“We hope that gets back to them and they see that and realise they’re really important to us.”
Brighton Primary School Centre for Deaf Education assistant principal Catharine Carlin said the program was amazing.
“They see these players doing something fantastic and it really gives them inspiration and it changes a lot of their thinking and also gives them that little bit of awe struck,” she said.
“It’s important they run programs with the AUSLAN interpretations so they have that opportunity and everyone is included and they don’t miss out on any of the information that’s being given.”
She said to have the information delivered by football stars meant the students would “walk away with really good memories”.
Ms Carlin said she hoped there would be more classes in the future that included an AUSLAN interpreter.
All 660 students at Brighton Primary School are learning AUSLAN whether they are deaf, hard of hearing or do not have a hearing impairment so everyone can communicate.
Ms Carlin said inclusivity was important at the school and AUSLAN was a “wonderful language to be learning”.
She said she would like to see AUSLAN added to the curriculum at more schools across the state.
Will Northeast runs the Youth Community Program at the football club, which was the brainchild of Port legend Russell Ebert.
He said running the class for deaf and hard of hearing students with the help of an AUSLAN interpreter was a proud moment .
“I know Russ would have been proud as well. Any student can have access to our program now and be able to learn and hear from our AFL men and women,” he said.
He said he hoped the AUSLAN program would be rolled out at other schools across South Australia.
Source: AFL NEWS ABC