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Community & Business

25 January, 2022

Using language to connect

FROM a little hobby farm tucked away in the small village of Speewah, bilingual interpreter Karin “Kaz” O’Reilly creates fun and education videos as an inclusive way to share her passion for gardening and AUSLAN.

By Ellie Fink

Karin “Kaz” O’Reilly with her Jack Russell’s Millie and Rexy in their dragon fruit plantation at their hobby farm in Speewah.

Kaz is a CODA, meaning child of deaf adults, where she experienced fi rsthand a world of limited accessibility for people with hearing impairments. 

She now creates inclusive videos teaching farming skills, with a separate English and AUSLAN sign language version for every single one and uploading it to her Instagram, @kaz_codahobbyfarmer 

With a cheerful “g’day groovers!” at the beginning of every video, Kaz welcomes everyone to her growing online hobby farm community, originally started to pass time as she completed her PhD. 

“I got a bit bored at home while doing my PhD so I posted stuff to my personal Instagram, like little tips and tricks for my friends and family and they began to ask if I could make videos and I thought you know what, I will,” she said. 

“I started the account just for fun and to post videos just for my close friends and decided to do them bilingual just because I’m a CODA and I knew a lot of deaf people and other CODAs. 

“As CODA’s we like to watch stuff in AUSLAN because that’s what we grew up with and it is so much more expressive.” 

Kaz explained that when she began her social media debut, she noticed the lack of captioning on videos, making it difficult for deaf and hard of hearing audiences to understand what is going on. 

She said she understood how difficult it could be to watch a video where they were demonstrating something, such as gardening, while reading captions. 

This then became the reason why she posted one version of the video in AUSLAN and one in English with captions. 

Her videos began to receive more attention every day, with her phone constantly buzzing with Instagram notifications, not just from her adult friends and family. 

Now that she has more children in her audience, she uses her background in teaching to create fun and inclusive videos about her beautiful garden, her three dogs and two very cheeky goats. 

“I originally started with gardening and the animals because when my husband and I moved up here a few years ago we started to get into gardening because of our acreage here and we learnt little tips, so I began to post them,” she said. 

“I want to encourage kids to do some gardening and get out and do stuff , especially with everything going on in the world it has become a Covid hobby for some families.

“When I found out a lot more kids were watching I tailored it a little more so I could tell more stories on the animals that they’d be more interested in – like the goats for example, not many kids have them.” 

Recent videos Kaz has posted so far include how to turn an egg carton into a mini garden, how to grow a pineapple and the funny story of how a goats love for chicken food ended with a trip the emergency department. 

Kaz says she hopes her account reaches parents and kids with an interest in gardening and farm animals and hopes that as the next generation becomes more technologically advanced, they can watch content that will encourage them to get down and grubby in the garden.

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