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May - Sign Language Week

Did you know that there are three official, recognised languages in New Zealand and Sign Language is one of them. During the week of the 8 to 14 May, New Zealand celebrates and acknowledges Sign Language Awareness Week. It’s a week to encourage the growth of New Zealand Sign Language within the community.

Sign Language enables those with limited to no hearing ability to communicate and connect with people. As we know, the ability to connect and communicate is very important to mental health and wellbeing. Because New Zealand Sign Language was only recognised as an official language in 2006, many of us have little to no experience practising or learning it. Most of us will have only been exposed to Sign Language through the Daily COVID-19 announcements during lockdowns!

Engaging in and being open to learning Sign Language helps to encourage others to use it and allows the Deaf community to be involved and accepted. Communication is essential, especially in the workplace.  You never know when you might need to use Sign Language to communicate someone whether it’s a colleague, client or for a business opportunity. Encouraging the learning of New Zealand Sign Language is encouraging acceptance and improving communication - a number one priority in the workplace.

If you are interested in learning Sign Language head to https://nzslweek.org.nz/learning-nzsl/ or head to your local community centre to find out more. 

Read the General Vocabulary sheet.

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