Hello Bulletin subscriber,

Welcome to issue 13 (2018) of our fortnightly newsletter, The Bulletin!

Inside This Issue

Here's what you'll find:
  • From SVRC: Dates for Your Diary, Job Opportunity at SVRC, Reviews of Dot Power & Education Support for Students with Low Vision, Equipment Boost for Schools Update,
  • From The Field: Swish Mini Project, Kids Road Safety Education,
  • PD: VoiceOver Basics for macOS (Register now!),
Check updated The Bulletin archive for back issues!

Dates for Your Diary – 2018

Here is a list of our planned PD and other activities:

Term 3

Dot Power: 11 September (new date for Year 1 to 3s)
[Space Camp: September-October in USA]

Term 4

Dot Power: 30 October (for pre-school and Foundation/Prep)
Dot Power: 13 November (new date for Year 1 to 3s)
Support Skills Try Day: 16 November
Technology Expo: Tuesday 27 November
Christmas Morning Tea: Wednesday 5 December [no need to register – just come at 11am!

Programs and registration are available on the SVRC website! Online payment is also available!

If you can't find the PD you need, please contact Lea Nagel or Marion Blazé to request a session.
Accessibility icon from System Preferences in macOS.

VoiceOver for macOS

Glen Morrow's VoiceOver Basics for iPad Users has proved very popular during the month of August. Here's some feedback from one happy participant:
"What you showed us last week I was able to apply yesterday and my blind student was able to participate in the lesson and had total access! When I put voiceover on, he squealed with delight!".

So, in September, Glen will be introducing the basics of VoiceOver for macOS.
When: Wednesdays from 2.30-3.30pm during September (5, 12 and 19 September)
Where: online – a link will be sent to you when you register

Registration is available here.

Dot Power Report – 7 August 2018

by Lea Nagel

Dot Power welcomed 10 children between the ages of 4 and 6, who are likely to use braille as their primary learning medium at school. About half of these children are in Foundation this year and the others will begin school next year.

The focus for today’s Dot Power Day was Music, featuring a rock band and rock band instruments. The children warmed up to the braille reading by singing a “do-braille” sheet, which lists easy contractions in a simple format. This is a great way to give children confidence in their braille reading ability. We read our feature book of the day, The Magic Hat, which includes many of the contractions from the do-braille sheet, and tells the story of Andy who wishes to be a rock star.

Here is a line from the do-braille sheet. It reads:
you can can you you can

This is a line from the book:

You can have one wish but just for one day.

Andy from the book came to life, and the book became a song played by a real live rock band! After enjoying the rock song, the children were invited to touch all of the instruments in the rock band. This kind of discovery is really important for children. They may hear rock music but without touching, they may not have an idea of the instruments or how the sounds are made.

After morning tea, the children were presented with a book: I can do braille music. They learnt how to read braille music notation for note C crotchets, quavers and crotchet rests. They read the notation and several of the children were able to say or clap a rhythm they had not yet heard.

The children were invited to write a short piece about a wish that they might make, and illustrate their story using a Draftsman Drawing Kit or small wire board. They read their story to their appreciative friends, with a little help!

The children enjoyed the outdoor climbing equipment at lunch time then came in to play Swish Mini. This is a cut-down version of Swish, which is a great game that has been designed for people who are blind or have low vision. The bell-ball is batted along a table. The table has rails that stop the ball falling off the sides. Our Swish Mini was made from plywood, clamps and pine for $50. It can be added to a standard table at school, pre-school or home. I’m hoping to upload information to our website on how to make this soon.

The children – and the staff too – worked really hard and were pretty tired by the end of the day.

Next Dot Power Day for this group: Tuesday 30thOctober

Trans-Tasman Certificate of Proficiency in Unified English Braille

by Leona Holloway, Australian Braille Authority

The Trans-Tasman Certificate of Proficiency in Unified English Braille is a highly regarded qualification administered jointly by the Australian Braille Authority and Braille Authority of New Zealand Aotearoa Trust. It is also the only braille certification available in Australia.

Applications are now open for the 2018 examination, to be held in the first two weeks of October. Candidates can select your preferred week, during which you can spend as much time as you require to complete, proofread and re-check your work. It is an open-book examination.

If you are interested in participating in this year's test, please:
  1. Read more about the examination at
  2. Download the practice tests, complete one and ask a braille expert to confirm that you are ready to sit the test.
  3. Register online at Friday 7 September 2018.
  4. Make payment of $77 by Friday 14 September.
  5. Practice, practice, practice!
  6. Complete the examination in your preferred week beginning 1 or 8 October 2018.
Contact Leona for further information: or 042 042 6823

UK Music Resources

Source and links: UK Association for Accessible Formats

Following the adoption of Unified English Braille in the UK, the UKAAF have uploaded a number of updated resources relating to braille music, such as "Braille Music and Unified English Braille".

There is also a series of six podcasts, "Journey through Braille Music" which describe the history, development and uses of braille music. Other episodes describe vocal music, keyboard music, and resources available.

Swish Mini Project

by Lea Nagel (SVRC Resident Woodworker).

SVRC's Lea Nagel steps us through the process of converting a standard table into a Swish Table (Swish as in the game!). The process is creative and makes a great fun project. The tools you need and steps required are detailed below. So ... are you up for the challenge?

Converting a standard table for $50

What You'll Need:
Plywood: 7 ply 300mm x 20mm for 2 bats
Pine plank: 16mm x 90mm, 1800mm or length to suit your table
Moulding/beading wood 25mm on widest edge, 260mm per bat
Clamps x 4

Saw (circular or handsaw and jigsaw)
Drill + thick drill bit
VegetableOil to finish wood

Make the bats:
Trace and cut bat shapes from plywood.
Cut 2 pieces of the moulding each 110mm long per bat.
Shape the end that will be toward the middle of the bat using sandpaper.
Glue the mouldings on each side of the bat to make handles. Use PVA and clamp overnight.

When handles are dried and cured, use sandpaper to sand the handles and round the edges to make them smooth.

Make the table edges:
Use a drill and the jigsaw to cut a rectangular hole 300mm from each end of the pine. Make the hole big enough to fit the clamp.
Sand the cut edges and round the top edges of the pine.

Set up the table:
Clamp the side rails to the table.
Use masking tape to mark 2 serving rectangles at each end.

Use a bell ball. Ball must roll along the table to be heard.
Server calls the receiving player’s name, then Ready?
Receiver answers Yes. Server calls Play then serves.

Kids Road Safety Education Session - FREE

With roads, traffic lights, street signs and mini trams, the Kew Traffic School is a great place for children to gain confidence and develop road safety skills away from the dangers of real traffic.

Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria invites primary school aged
children who are blind or vision impaired and their families to the:

Kids Road Safety Education Session at the Kew Traffic School
Cnr Cotham & Grange Roads, Kew.

Optional BYO helmets, bikes & scooters

Contact: Miriam Bilander (03) 9822 8876 or email

Afternoon tea provided!

Monday September 24th, 2018, 2-4:00pm

Siblings and friends welcome.

Educational Support for Students with Low Vision’ professional learning day held on August 14

by Marion Blaze

SVRC had a full house for the third presentation of this professional learning day for 2018. Thirty two participants at SVRC, and three online, comprising primary and secondary teachers, ES staff and one early childhood OT from Vision Australia spent the day learning about how to support their students with low vision. Two teachers even came from a school where they do not have a child with low vision but a child who is currently being patched for amblyopia. This is a treatment often used for ‘lazy eyes’ and it is the good eye that gets patched so that the lazy eye will get working. It is usually only done for a couple of hours a day, and will not be effective if adjustments are made for the child during this time – s/he needs to get that eye working! So while we asked these two teachers to think about the implications of their child having poor vision for two hours a day, all the other participants were thinking about how to provide maximum access to their curricula for their little people with low vision.

Thank you to all our wonderful presenters, including Claudia, a student in Year 10, to our miracle-workers who simultaneously deal with audio visuals on-site and Youtube feeds to people off-site, and to our Production staff who keep everything happening with furniture moving, registrations and refreshments! What a team!!

Some comments from participants:
‘Fantastic flow of talks and activities. Hearing the student voice was so beneficial.’
‘Great day! Very informative and eye-opening.’
‘Today was fantastic. Best day of PL I have had in some time. There is so much for me to contemplate and act upon as I prepare for ... next year. Thank you so much!’

Head over to the SVRC website to find out more about upcoming professional learning.

Equipment Boost for Schools - Update

Requests by government schools for blind and low vision technology as part of the Equipment Boost for Schools closed on Friday 17 August. In total, 264 requests were received. Thank you to everyone who was involved as part of this process.

Over the coming weeks, the team at SVRC will be working with a range of experts, both inside and outside DET to review each request in detail. Please be patient. Given the number and complexity of applications, the assessment and procurement process is expected to take some time. We will be working hard to ensure specialised equipment and assistive technologies are being lent out to schools as quickly as possible. If we require additional information or clarifications, we will contact applicants directly.

Specialised stream – Still open!

Schools still have a chance to submit applications for specialised (non-vision specific) technology as part of the Equipment Boost for Schools specialised stream. To find out more information about this stream and for details about how to apply, please go to

Job Opportunity at SVRC – Apply Now!

A vacancy exists for a capable and enthusiastic teacher to join the SVRC team for a part-time position for the rest of this year as a specialist teacher in the Support Skills Program. The successful applicant will be involved in the teaching program at Support Skills, with a specific focus around either assistive technology or social skill development.

They will also be involved teaching other areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum where they have expertise, such as braille mathematics, tactile graphics, careers planning, research and study skills.

To find out more information or to apply for this position, click the big bold button below. Go on, you know you want to.

Applications close Monday 3 September 2018

Accessible excursion ideas

Did you know that IMAX at the Melbourne Museum has some audio described educational movies? If you go to their website, click ‘Education’ then ‘Film Library’ and then ‘Read More’ for each film, there will be a symbol, ‘AD’ telling you if that movie has audio description. Some films also have Closed Captions (‘CC’) for hearing impaired students. You can also ask for touch access to some of the exhibits at the Museum.

Please share with us your schools’ ideas for accessible excursions.


So that concludes another bumper edition of The Bulletin. Stay connected with SVRC via our social links below - and drop us a line any time if you have any content ideas, funny jokes or gossip.

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