We were established in 1913 to provide community services for Deaf people. In 1922 we were incorporated as a Company Limited by Guarantee, and we are also a registered charity.
We are working towards ensuring that the same political, civil and human rights as other members of the community are secured by deaf people.
Over the 100 years of our existence we have become the leading provider of services for deaf people and their families in New South Wales and in this time we have developed specialist expertise with our focus on ensuring quality outcomes.
The range of services we deliver fall under these broad headings:
- Community Development
- Consumer Support
- Family Support
- Regional Support
We are a flexible and innovative organisation and as we have grown and developed over the years, we have shown to be responsive to changes in both the Deaf community and in general society. We have been quick to adopt new trends in education and social care, and when new technology emerges, we have been quick to see and utilise the potential they have for deaf people.
For example, when telephone typewriters (TTYs) first came out in around 1980, we were among the first to trial them. We have been equally as innovative when it came to the introduction over the next few decades of technologies such as the Internet, captioned television and video material, as well as video remote interpreting by deaf people.
Our major corporate goals are to provide high quality, flexible and responsive services and programs and at the same time, promoting Deaf culture and fostering the development of the Deaf Community. We also aim to lead by example by developing and maintaining productive partnerships, reviewing and strengthening internal operations and accountability processes and modelling deaf-friendly work practices.
We became a Registered Training Organisation following our merger with the Deaf Education Network in 2006, and offer continuing education for deaf adults and Auslan programs for the wider community.
Today, we pride ourselves on having many deaf staff and consider ourselves as leaders in the implementation of inclusive and deaf-friendly workplace practices. We continue to seek the best ways to work in partnership with the Deaf Community to serve the needs of deaf people and raise deaf awareness in the wider community.
Who We Work With
We have traditionally provided a range of services to Deaf adults who use Auslan (Australian Sign Language).
However, in recent years we have broadened the range of people we work with to include the following:
- Deaf children and young deaf people
- Hard of hearing and deafened people of all ages
- Deaf people with Cochlear Implants
- Deafblind people
- Deaf people with additional disabilities
- Hearing parents and hearing children of deaf people,
- Hearing students and people wanting to work within the deaf community
- Friends and families of deaf people
- Other groups and organisations who work with deaf people
- Government and private agencies
- Deaf people who live outside of the main metropolitan areas
We are a State-wide non-profit organisation and our services are funded by government grants and contracts, sponsorship and contributions from donors and supporters, income earned from investments, and fees charged for the services which we deliver.
Membership is open to anyone who agrees to abide by our Constitution. The majority of our members are Deaf people who use Auslan and it is not necessary to be a member of the Society in order to access our services.
We are governed by a Board of Directors comprised of volunteers and who are elected by our members at Annual General Meetings for three-year terms. Our Board provides strategic direction and governance. Experienced and qualified full-time and part-time staff are employed to deliver our services. We also contract a range of experienced and qualified staff when required including interpreters, teachers and presenters.
Half our staff are deaf and many of our hearing staff are qualified interpreters or otherwise fluent in Auslan.
We develop our strategic plans after we have consulted with our stakeholder groups including our Board, Executive, staff and clients. Our Annual Report is provides detailed information about how we have progressed towards achieving our goals during the year and is a document of accountability to our stakeholders.