National Week of Deaf People (20 - 26 September 2021) is an intiative that aligns with the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) International Week of the Deaf People. It is celebrated annually by the Australian Deaf Community during the last full week of September to commorate the same month the first World Congress of the WFD was held. The National Week of Deaf People is celebrated through various activites by the Deaf community around Australia. These activities and events welcome the participation of all members of the community to celebrate Deaf culture, Deaf history and Australia's Deaf language, Auslan.
National Week of Deaf People celebrates the same theme that the WFD endorses; this year the theme is "Celebrating Thriving Deaf Communities". There are also daily subthemes and these can be read on the WFD website by clicking here.
To celebrate the 2021 National Week of Deaf People, we are running an Auslan Leaders Challenge where leaders and community members can learn to sign a message in Auslan and celebrate. To learn how you can get involved, click here.
International Day of Sign Languages (Thursday, 23 September) is a day recognised to support protect the linguistic identity and cultural diversity of all Deaf people and other sign language users around the world. According to the WFD, there are approximately 72 million deaf people worldwide. More than 80% of them live in developing countries. Collectively, they use more than 300 different sign languages.
Here in Australia, the sign language used by Deaf Australians is Auslan.
It is important to understand that Auslan is not an acronymn for Australian Sign Language and it should not be writted capitalised.
Auslan is not yet recognised as an offical language in Australia like other national sign languages are recognised in other countries.