Ways to prepare and stay safe

This is an Easy Read guide to download here

Easy Read is a method of presenting written English to make it easier to understand for people with learning difficulties or who have another first language. It is also useful for the general community in presenting information that has technical terms, complex ideas and things that aren’t commonly known in the community.

NDIS participants

The National Disability Insurance Agency said it is taking necessary steps to prepare and support participants and providers. Read more at…/ndis-a…/ndis-and-disaster-response

As a result, people who communicate in Auslan using the Video Relay service will experience longer than usual wait times to have their calls answered.

Other NRS call channels can also expect longer wait times.

The Helpdesk is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm (AEST, excluding national public holidays). There are a number of ways to make contact with Helpdesk staff:
Phone: 1800 555 660
TTY: 1800 555 630
Fax: 1800 555 690
SMS: 0416 001 350

There’s a health crisis but where are the captions in Government announcements to the community?

It is frustrating and dangerous that captions are increasingly NOT being included in the Government’s emergency and disaster announcements when they appear on social media.

An estimated 1.2 million Australians rely on captions every day, and there are countless more who find themselves in busy and loud environments (or are listening to music) when they watch social media.

It is great to see that Auslan interpreters are being included in emergency and disaster broadcasts for the 10,000 people in Australia whose first language is Auslan.

All government announcements no matter how they are delivered must have BOTH an Auslan interpreter and Open Captions – these are captions that are a permanent feature of a video, meaning that you can’t switch them off so they will appear in any replays of the original broadcast, including social media.

The best thing we can do as a community is to add a comment to every Government video we see on social media when captions aren’t there – “where are the captions?” And tell your friends to do the same.

A statement by Deafness Forum Australia about the importance of accessible communications during this Coronavirus pandemic

One in six Australians live with a hearing loss that impacts on their daily lives. We comprise one of the largest categories of persons with disability in the world with over 466 million persons have a disabling hearing loss.

Many of these people have an additional disability(s), making them particularly vulnerable in this health pandemic.

We experience communication issues that make it hard to interact with other people. These issues can result in loneliness, anxiety, and depression. We face challenges with social distancing and the use of face masks which impedes lip reading.

Information from the media and social media sources must be captioned

Deafness Forum of Australia has been seeking the support of television broadcasters to provide open captions on all public emergency announcements.

We support the current accessibility arrangement that includes a sign language interpreter in these announcements for the 10,000 Australians whose first language is Auslan. However, there is a large number of Australians – estimates are in excess of 1 million – who rely on captions every day. This includes people for whom English is a second language, children with learning difficulties and particularly, older people who may use hearing aids or cochlear implants, and the many people who have no aided support to assist with their hearing.

Emergency broadcasts on television must have Open Captions – these are captions that are a permanent feature of a video, meaning that you can’t switch them off so they will appear in any replays of the original broadcast, including social media.

Service providers must provide accessible communications

We want providers to offer the option of text messaging versus verbal telephone contact, and use of the National Relay Service and National Auslan Booking Service (the latter for medical and health-related appointments).

Video communications must be captioned.

We urge all governments, their agencies, businesses and community groups to commit to making their communications accessible in this time of national crisis.

For organisations in our community sector

This is a message from Deafness Forum to its member organisations and others about the need to be prepared to deal with the current health crisis and to make an Epidemic/Pandemic Policy.

You can create your own policy & procedure by using a template created by the Institute of Company Directors Australia. It is free for NFPs and can be downloaded at Epidemic-Pandemic Policy template Mar2020