Griffith University’s Deaf Students’ Support Program has come of age and will celebrate its 21st birthday on Saturday, June 17 at the Queensland Conservatorium.

The university pioneered educational support programs for Deaf and Hard of Hearing people and has become a model for similar university programs

throughout Australia. Support includes sign language interpreting, tutorials, note-taking, and technological aids as well as access to all general services of the university.

“Past and current Deaf and Hard of Hearing students from all over Australia

and overseas, as well as staff, sign language interpreters and academics will come together to celebrate this milestone achievement,” said leading expert in Deaf Studies and program founder Emeritus Professor Des Power.

He said Griffith was instrumental in providing education and training programs which have helped change public perceptions of the Deaf community to that of a minority linguistic and cultural community capable of high achievement.

“In the last 35 years or so, many commentators have moved from a medical model where Deafness was considered a disease, a condition or a disability

to it being seen as a social, linguistic and cultural lifestyle for signing members of the deaf community.”

Celebrations will include a keynote address by Carol-Lee Aquiline, former General Secretary, World Federation of the Deaf, and a presentation by Griffith’s first Deaf PhD graduate, Breda Carty, an authority on the history of the Deaf community in Australia.

Breda is now working at the Renwick College of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children and the University of Newcastle and is one of just a

handful of Deaf lecturers in Australia.

A new DVD “Signs of Success” will also be previewed. It will be used to promote the availability of university education to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people via supportive programs like Griffith’s.