National Week of Deaf People: Jane's Story

Jane Taylor’s memories of her mother taking her to a Deaf Women’s group as a child so that she could communicate in Auslan inspired Jane to set up her own group to help others.

While working in a bank for many years, Jane experienced many communication challenges in her workplace.

“Working at the bank, I would regularly experience many miscommunications that I had to work through and have a high level of patience with,” Jane explained. “Naturally, I had aspirations of working for Expression Australia because of the bilingual and Deaf friendly environment.”

In 2014, Jane started working for Expression Australia as a Finance Officer and has never looked back.

As a Deaf woman, Expression Australia’s vision of access, inclusion and equal opportunity for all, are characteristics that are close to Jane’s heart. Since starting her role at Expression Australia, Jane has enjoyed working with all of her colleagues and she contributes this to having access to her first language, Auslan.

“Now that I can communicate with everyone in Auslan,” Jane exclaims. “It’s fantastic!”

 “Growing up, I remember my mother would always bring me along to the Deaf Women’s group in Sydney. When I moved to Melbourne, I was surprised to find out that there wasn’t anything set up.” Jane said.

So in 2015, Jane set up the volunteer organisation Deaf Women Victoria (DWV) and is currently the secretary. The group meets regularly every month to socialise, organise workshops or have guest presenters.

“Some women spend a lot of time home alone and don’t get to socialise regularly. DWV gives them the opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones in a comfortable environment.” Jane explained.

Jane regularly travels interstate to visit her mother and sister who still reside in Sydney and her daughter and granddaughter who live on the Gold Coast. Jane especially enjoys teaching her granddaughter Auslan and is always looking forward to when she will visit her next.

As Expression Australia celebrates National Week of Deaf People (23 – 29 September), Jane wishes that hearing people were more aware of how to communicate with Deaf people, and encourages everyone to learn some basic Auslan.

“I’m extremely proud to be Deaf. If someone was to ask me if I’d rather be hearing, I’d say no. I love my community, my identity as a Deaf person and Auslan.” 

Thank you Dilpreet, Yvonne and Alec from the Victorian College of the Deaf who interviewed Jane as part of their work experience at Expression Australia.

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