2 New Books In Auslan: The Sign Language For Australia’s Deaf Community

By Women Love Tech
on 2 September 2019

Two new books released in Auslan on Huawei’s AI-powered app ‘StorySign’ to help improve literacy for deaf children across Australia.

Huawei has expanded the StorySign app, adding two new books in Auslan – the sign language of Australia’s deaf community. The new books, ‘Max the Brave’ by Ed Vere and ‘All About Spot’ by Eric Hill, are both on the StorySign app, which harnesses the power of Huawei AI to translate popular children’s books into sign language to make story time possible for deaf and hard of hearing children.

New research commissioned by Huawei, revealed the hidden deaf literacy problem in Australia along with the importance of story time when developing literacy skills. According to the research, the vast majority of Australians believe reading bedtime stories has many benefits for children, particularly improving literacy skills (94%), encouraging imagination and creativity (94%), and helping parents to bond with their children (94%). However, with no written form of sign language, over 34 million deaf children around the world – including the 400 children born deaf every year in Australia – are currently struggling to connect sign language with the written word. This creates reading challenges and ultimately impacts literacy levels, with an overwhelming number leaving school functionally illiterate.

Nearly half of Australians (47%) are unaware that literacy is an issue for children who are deaf or hard of hearing, or that there are many different sign languages (56%). This lack of awareness makes overcoming these challenges more difficult. Huawei believe that every child should have the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from story time, no matter what, and have developed StorySign to make this possible.

Huawei’s StorySign ambassador, Emma ‘Yellow Wiggle’ Watkins said: “I’m a passionate advocate for sign language and will always be committed to supporting young children in the deaf community, so the StorySign initiative is close to my heart. I’ve witnessed first-hand the positive impact that it can have on a child’s life – right now, through access to story time with parents, but also long term as it aims to improve literacy in deaf children.”

Emma Watkins a passionate advocate

The new research also found that, on average, parents read bedtime stories to their young children four times a week, which equates to 213 bedtime stories a year, with 36% reading every night and 21% between four-six times a week. Out of those parents, three in four (76%) feel that technology – such as StorySign – could help make story time possible with their children, whether or not they are deaf or hard of hearing, with 74% open to using technology during story time.

“Right now, millions of deaf children are struggling to enjoy the wonderful world of books. Together with Deaf Australia, our mission is to raise awareness and help address the issue of deaf literacy by extending what is humanly possible through the use of Huawei technology,” comments Larking Huang, Managing Director of Huawei Consumer Business Group in Australia. “At Huawei, we want to help make the world a better place by using our technology to solve some of society’s greatest challenges. With more than 35 thousand app downloads, StorySign is changing the lives of deaf children in Australia and around the world.”

Kyle Miers, CEO of Deaf Australia, said: “The StorySign app, in conjunction with a smartphone and physical book, delivers the best story time experience for the deaf community. We often struggle to source content to help address literacy challenges, but StorySign is creating an authentic reading experience. We are proud to work with Huawei on this exciting project and look forward to its continued growth in Australia.”

Huawei created StorySign last year to support the deaf community.

To watch the film and learn how you can help, visit www.storysign.com. Donations can be made via the StorySign campaign hub on the Huawei website and the ‘about’ section of the StorySign app. All money raised will support Deaf Australia’s literacy projects in Australia.

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