26 September 2023

Technology triumphs at deaf speech

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It was a formidable combination of technology and determination that brought the first ever address at the National Press Club in Canberra when Kyle Miers, Chief Executive, Deaf Australia ‘spoke’ in Auslan to the issue ‘Does listening help? The Impact of Deaf Children’s Literacy’.

Kyle Miers is deaf.

He was born deaf to a deaf family but it hasn’t stopped him making a formidable contribution for deaf Australians.

It was humbling and impressive considering the way the technology had to be organised and fascinating when we realise that Miers and his team had worked hard to make it work – and it all looked so easy to those observing.

The ABC had cameras to catch Miers signing, close up on the translators and the audience of many deaf people held in awe of how interesting it was in a room not renowned for quiet among the guests.

Miers spoke of the Huawei development of the Story Sign technology which is a free mobile app that helps deaf children read by translating text from selected books into sign language, such as our local Auslan.

And watching Miers and listening to his translators was both fascinating and a realistic look at the possibilities for the deaf when all the aspects of technologies that we who hear take for granted but can and should be used for something so pleasurable as reading together.

It was an address that opened up all manner of possibilities for the deaf, the hard of hearing and the marvels of technology to find new ways to make life so much easier.

And fluttering you fingers high in the air is such a lovely way to show applause.

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