More families across Australia will have the chance to share their wish list directly with Santa this year.
Deaf and hard of hearing children and their families will be able to communicate in their own language to an Auslan-fluent Santa at select shopping centres.
Jen Blyth, Deaf Australia chief executive officer, grew up with Deaf parents and wishes this was something she had as a child.
"My siblings and I, we could have gone and seen Santa and spoke to Santa. I just think this initiative is so great for children of today."
Launched as a pilot program last year, Auslan Santa was in Westfield shopping centres on the east coast last year with their sessions filling up quickly and being welcomed by the community.
This year Auslan Santa will expand this year to include shopping centres in South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT.
Ms Blyth said last year's launch was a "truly magical experience", with the Deaf and hard of hearing community thrilled to be able to communicate with Santa for the first time.
Having an important childhood icon like Santa who can communicate with you fluently is important.
"Being able to talk to Santa, to ask very explicitly for a cute puppy should be the norm. It shouldn't be that a Deaf kid goes and sits next to a Santa who insists on speaking to them in English - just like everyone else they meet," Ms Blyth said.
Globally 97% of all Deaf and hard of hearing babies are born to hearing families who have never met a Deaf or hard of hearing person before, and approximately 80% of those parents never learn sign language - this can lead to about 50% of the Deaf community experiencing language deprivation in both their sign language and country's spoken language.
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In Australia it is crucial that Deaf and hard of hearing babies and children and their families have access to Auslan alongside English from birth and all the other tools like hearing aids and cochlear implants and so on, in order to ensure that their child can communicate in any language.
Ms Blyth said we need to enable access to the Deaf and hard of hearing community and our culture, and Auslan to families immediately after diagnosis.
"More people should learn Auslan and use it, even if they are nervous about getting it wrong. Auslan is a language in itself, it is not "English on the hands", and it is an Australian sign language - everyone should have open exposure to this," she said.
Families wishing to pack their sleigh to attend a session in Auslan can find details and make a booking online at www.westfield.com.au.
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