Being deaf doesn’t stop Tallula leading a choir
A LOCAL deaf woman who teaches an Auslan singing choir has been navigating the challenges of online classes, and doing so with poise.
Tallula Bourne, who leads the Sprung choir which is usually based in Ballina, has 15 people logging into class each week.
She teaches basic Auslan and then an Auslan translation of a song.
The choir has recently been learning, What a wonderful world by Louis Armstrong and the next song will be Team by Lorde.
The challenges of teaching a class online are in some ways amplified by her hearing impairment.
Her cochlear implant struggles to keep up when there is video lagging and sound layering, and there can be plenty of it.
"I struggle with sound layering in virtual and real life when there are lots of people talking at once," Ms Bourne said.
"I call this the 'wall of sound' - my cochlear implant is trying to listen.
"Online, I can't physically adjust anyone's hands, which is quite often needed for teaching Auslan."
However, there are definitely perks of running an online class.
"I can see multiple people at once and I don't have to look around me to figure out who's talking," Ms Bourne said.
"The coronavirus has given people the opportunity to learn things they usually don't have the time to.
"It eliminates the time and space problem.
"People don't have to drive anywhere, it only takes one hour of your day and you can wear your pyjamas if you want - no judgment.
"And people who live far away can join in.
"My grandparents have been coming to the class and they live near Forster."
The classes are free for people on the NDIS, and available to anyone else, from beginners to Auslan experts, for $10.
Sprung offers a range of other classes, and has been sponsoring Ms Bourne due to an NDIS funding shortfall.
If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to her scholarship so she can continue her involvement, then go to www.sprung.org.au/donate and make a note of 'Tallula Scholarship' when donating.