The Popular Australian TV show ‘Bluey’, which is loved by kids across NZ, has introduced its first deaf character.
The little dog ‘Dougie’ communicates through Auslan (Australian Sign Language).
However, introducing the character to the show does bring its own challenges. Most Auslan signs need five fingers, while Dougie only has four.
Brent Phillips, the Chief Impact Officer of Deaf Connect, who assisted in the production and creation of Dougie, explained further…
“Obviously finger spelling would be too hard because you need all five fingers to do that” “So we considered some of the signs that are very clear and very visual."
“When you watch Dougie, you can tell exactly what he’s saying and that’s a credit to the animation team for taking the idea on board and doing our language justice.”
Dougie uses Auslan with his mother at the playground in the episode, which highlights the similarities between Dougie and Bingo despite Dougie being deaf.
Bluey fans praised the episode's diversity on Facebook after its airing.
“I watched the new Bluey with my profoundly deaf son and admit I started crying at the inclusion of Auslan,”
“I looked at my son and he was grinning from ear to ear! At the end he came and gave me a hug."
“Brilliant - my girls are already trying to learn it - please do more,”