Communications received a number of emails this week from young people with disabilities who were inspired by the story of Eleanor Hurton, reported in The Star newspaper recently.
Communications put Star reporter Jess Gibson in touch with Eleanor because she’d won two Blues awards and seemed an ideal fit for the newspaper’s new ‘Young & Successful’ column.
Eleanor is an amazing disability advocate as well as a Master’s of Sociology student who has an auditory processing disability herself.
The young people who emailed us had disabilities themselves or were looking for more information for siblings with disabilities. Many of them had been told they wouldn’t succeed at university – even those at the top of their class! – due to their disabilities. They had never seen a positive representation of someone ‘like them’ and were so excited and inspired that is was quite humbling. Many of our email writers are now applying to UC!
Communications replied to the emails and shared our equity and disability webpage links for further information. Eleanor is already part of the UCMe campaign launching at the start of 2020, so that also is very inspiring for young people with disabilities.
Takeaways from this experience:
One news story can make a huge difference to someone’s life.
Young people with disabilities don’t often see successful examples of people like them.
There may be some misinformation out there about who can succeed at university.
The Disability Resource Service is changing its name to the Equity and Disability Service to better reflect the services and support available to students. From next week you might start to notice this change on the website and signage.
NZ Sign Language Introductory Courses cover finger-spelling alphabet and basic phrases, numbers, some university specific vocabulary and basic grammar. No previous NZSL experience is required and the course is open to both students and staff.
Classes will be held each Thursday of term 1 from 12noon to 12.50pm in the Puaka-James Hight building. The dates are 22 Feb, 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 March. Handouts are provided, there is no structured homework though practicing signs between classes is encouraged to enhance your learning.
For the course to run in term 1 there needs to be a minimum of 10 participants. Courses will be offered in terms 2, 3, and 4 most likely on the same day and time and provided there are at least 10 attendees. Please email me if you’d like to register for the term 1 course, and I will send you a payment form (the cost is $60).
Here is some feedback from a previous course:
During term 3 I was fortunate enough to learn sign language through a course offered by the University. I signed up to this course because I think as an official New Zealand language it is something we should all know the basics in. My speech and hearing is something I take for granted every day and learning sign language gave me a greater appreciation for the abilities that I have, as well as allowing me to communicate with the deaf community. I definitely intend on continuing to learn sign language, to extend my conversational skills and to continue learning about deaf culture. Sign language is a transferable skill across study, work and our day to day lives. I encourage you all to consider taking this course next time it is offered, you will learn how to sign common phrases, ask questions and master basic conversations.