Shannon Fox, whose ten year old daughter Olivia is deaf, went to Vicdeaf’s fantastic Gaslight Festival in Wodonga from 7 – 8 March with their family and friends – all the way from Tasmania.
Shannon explained why: “Deaf culture exists for all deaf people and it exists for us too as hearing parents of a deaf child. They are a welcoming, warm community. Olivia and all our family just started learning Auslan last year and we have never met a deaf person who wasn’t supportive of our efforts to communicate in Auslan. We want Olivia to feel comfortable with the Deaf community and her own identity growing up deaf – and we need to identify as part of the community as parents. I feel Deaf role models are so important for our children.”
Shannon added after the Festival, “Olivia and her friend Felix were tickled pink that almost everyone seemed to be wearing hearing aids and signing at the Festival. They felt they were in the majority (rather than the minority) for once. I was really excited to meet other deaf parents and learn about their experiences and the opportunities they have for their children in Victoria. I felt the mental health talks were great and we loved meeting Young Australian of the Year 2015, Drisana Levitzke-Gray.”
Shannon encourages other parents to make the most of other opportunities for their children to connect with deaf and hard of hearing children and adults. She hopes to help build up more opportunities for the children and young people in Tasmania in the future.