The West

Society breaks down silent barriers

The Barrett family do not take communication for granted.

Father-of-two Damon Barrett was born without hearing and often relies on wife Amie to help him understand his world.

The pair met at a deaf club about five years ago, where Amie studied to be an interpreter.

She now works for the WA Deaf Society, a non-for-profit group that helps the hearing-impaired.

Mr Barrett said the society provided invaluable resources.

"I accessed the Deaf Society when I was first starting to sign, at age 11," Mr Barrett said. "Before that it was hard to communicate. The Deaf Society is a central place to help practise skills."

He said the Deaf Society enabled him to work as a repairman at a boat fabrication facility.

It also helped through the birth of the couple's children Evangeline, 2, and Cillian, two months.

"When I was pregnant we had trouble getting an interpreter for doctor's appointments but the Deaf Society helped us get one," Mrs Barrett said.

She said the society also helped build sign language skills in their children.

WA Deaf Society is one of the beneficiaries of United Way WA's Five Cents for Five Senses campaign, which encourages West Australians to give up their loose change for charity.

Donations to the campaign can be made at any HBF or Westpac branch. For more information visit

The West Australian

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