Seeing the signs of greater awareness: National Week for Deaf People

Janelle and Lucia Macri want to see more people learning sign language. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au   d445118
Janelle and Lucia Macri want to see more people learning sign language. Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au d445118

MOTHER and daughter Jenelle and Lucia (8) Macri, of Canning Vale, were both diagnosed with hearing loss at age three.

Neither of Mrs Macri’s parents had hearing problems and the reasons behind their diagnosis remains a mystery.

Ms Macri, a senses and support worker for the deaf and blind, said she wanted the community to know that deafness was no barrier to leading a normal life.

As part of National Week for Deaf People, she hoped to see more Australians showing an interest in sign language.

“Living with deafness is not a barrier,” she said. “Life is full of challenges but we are up for it and we can do anything if you learn our language.

“I grew up speaking but after learning Auslan at Tafe when I was 17, I never looked back and I fell in love with the language.”

Mrs Macri’s 13-year-old son Tyler can hear and has signed since he was born.

Lucia, who received a cochlear implant at four age and a second at seven, would like to see Auslan taught in schools.

Mrs Macri said having signing friends would make play dates easier and the playground less stressful.

“Sometimes she can’t hear when there is alot of other kids playing or noise in the background,” she said. “For her to watch Auslan is so much easier and relaxing for her.”

Mrs Macri hoped to use the National Week for Deaf People to empower deaf people.

“I want people to know they can treat us like any other member of the community,” she said.