Butterfly Fulcrum offers first Auslan course

Sign of the times: Lee and Julia Akerman are excited to be offering the first Auslan 1 course out of the deaf community-targeted NDIS provider The Butterfly Fulcrum with places filling up fast. Photo: Gareth Gardner 130717

Sign of the times: Lee and Julia Akerman are excited to be offering the first Auslan 1 course out of the deaf community-targeted NDIS provider The Butterfly Fulcrum with places filling up fast. Photo: Gareth Gardner 130717

In a good sign for the local deaf community, The Butterfly Fulcrum’s first Auslan 1 course is filling up quick.

One of Tamworth’s newest NDIS providers the Bridge st business was built to help all people with disabilities, although does have a specific focus on the deaf community, which is no surprise seeing CEO Julia Akerman was born deaf herself.

Mrs Akerman grew up in a hearing family and boasts a rich history of teaching Auslan and being very active in the deaf community having previously taught at Southern Cross University, before more recently running courses at TAFE Tamworth and the Community College.

She will be teaching alongside husband, and interpreter, Lee, after the pair started the business 12 months ago.

“I am very excited to be teaching the first course out of The Butterfly Fulcrum.

It is not word for word because our language is completely different from the culture – we use signs, body language and expressions to create a story or paint a picture. - Julia Akerman

There is at least 60 to 70 deaf people in the Tamworth area so we encourage anyone to sign up for the course, children, youth and adults, for people who are deaf or can’t talk being able to communicate with others is very important, it also helps them feel more a part of the community” Mrs Akerman said.

Auslan levels vary from 1 through to 7, and anyone undertaking the first level will be able to “do basic signing and have an understanding of how the deaf communicate.” 

Auslan is the Australian version of sign language, and uses a combination of signs and hand gestures, facial expressions and body language to communicate, although Julia says it is a little removed from the spoken English language.

“It is not word for word because our language is completely different from the culture – we use signs, body language and expressions to create a story or paint a picture,” Mrs Akerman said.

“It is theatrical, so making it fun and exciting is a very important part of the teaching and learning process.” 

The course begins on August 31, and will involve one three hour session a week for six weeks at a cost of $130, with only four available places left as of Thursday.

There will also be an Auslan Refresher Course running two hours a week for four weeks. The refresher cause will cost $95.

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