Auslan in Allied Health – Occupational Therapy (OT)

Published on: 17th August 2023

We’re excited to introduce you to Kj, an incredibly passionate and dedicated Occupational Therapist here at Deaf Connect, who is studying Auslan to improve their service delivery for deaf and hard of hearing children. To start your own Auslan journey, check out our classes here.

Kj initially set out to become a Speech Pathologist, but during a work experience day, they found themselves assisting an Occupational Therapist on the other side of the room. They fell in love with it, and Kj knew that this was the path they wanted to take.

Occupational Therapists support many areas of a child’s development, including thinking, sensory processing, social interactions, play, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and more. “At Deaf Connect, I work with deaf and hard of hearing children with social and play skills,” Kj explains.

“Sometimes when children are in the playground, they may not always hear the cues that are happening. I help them to notice what’s going on and how to respond.”

What sets Kj’s approach apart is their understanding that every child is unique, and they all require individualised attention.

“Although children might have difficulties with the same task, how we approach this could be quite different. So, one child might be having sensory difficulties with their hands. So, we come from a sensory point of view. Another child might have strength difficulties with their hands. So, we look at that side of things. It’s very individualised depending on the child and age group.”

Personal Journey: Learning Auslan

Before starting work at Deaf Connect, Kj had an introduction to the Deaf community when they worked at a childcare center. Two Deaf children they cared for sparked their interest in sign language and the desire to communicate better with them. In 2018, they took their first step towards learning Auslan through community classes. However, due to the challenges of the pandemic, their journey was momentarily paused until they joined Deaf Connect. At Deaf Connect they have completed their Certificate II in Auslan and are enrolled in the next course.

“I do have unilateral mild hearing loss. So Auslan is really helpful for me to communicate when I’m out in the community. If it’s loud and it’s crazy, I can’t understand what’s going on. But with Auslan, it’s so much easier and it just takes the stress off being able to communicate.”

Kj’s dedication to learning Auslan not only empowers them to communicate effectively but also strengthens the bond they share with the deaf and hard of hearing children they work with.

So, if you’re considering a career in allied health or simply want to expand your horizons, we encourage you to take that leap and learn Auslan. Check out our classes here:

If you would like to contact our Therapy and Family services for more information or Kj’s availability, please visit here.


Like this story? View the full Auslan in Allied Health Playlist here.

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