Hello Bulletin subscriber,

Welcome to issue 18 of our fortnightly newsletter, The Bulletin.

Inside This Issue - here's what you'll find:
  • From SVRC: Dates for Your Diary, Christmas Morning Tea Invitation, VCE Special Provision for 2019 External Examinations, Students in the News, Norma Turns 90, Parking Notice
  • PD: PD Dates for 2019, SVRC Expo 2018, Focus on Ability Podcasts, Maths Workshop, UEB Online, Braille Tutor
  • Technology: Perkins Repairers
  • Activities & Recreation: DisRupted Funding Opportunity, Santa Mail, Chalk Board Adhesive Roll
Check updated The Bulletin archive for back issues!

Check updated The Bulletin archive for back issues!

Dates for Your Diary – Term 4 2018

Here is a list of our planned PD and other activities:
Technology Expo: Tuesday 27 November
Christmas Morning Tea: PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE!! VTs, please extend this invitation to folk in your schools.

SVRC Maths Workshop – Tactile and Auditory Graphics: Friday 14 December 9.30am – 12.30pm. RSVP online.

Note: Programs, registration & online payment are available on the SVRC website!


Please come to the annual SVRC Christmas morning tea. We'll be celebrating and thanking you all for your wonderful work towards the support of students with vision impairments in Victoria and beyond on

TUESDAY 4 December 2018
from 11am.
All welcome!!!
Please RSVP online so we know you are coming!

PD Dates for 2019

SVRC's PD team will hit the ground running with a range of face-to-face learning opportunities including:

Term 1
Tuesday February 12 – Education Support for Students who are Blind
Monday February 18 – Introduction to being a Visiting Teacher (Vision)
Tuesday February 26 – Educational support of students who have low vision
Tuesday March 5 – Educational support of students who have low vision
Wednesday March 13 – Including students who are blind or have low vision in physical education
Tuesday March 19 – Educational support of students who are vision impaired with additional impairments

Term 2:
Tuesday April 30 – Braille music
Wednesday May 15 – Including students who are blind or have low vision in art
Conference day for Visiting Teachers – yet to be scheduled

Term 3:
Tuesday August 13 – Educational support of students who have low vision

Term 4:
Tuesday October 15 – Preparing your school for inclusion of a student who uses braille
Tuesday November 26 – Assistive Technology Expo

Dialogue in the Dark, Docklands any time
Teachers can book complimentary tickets

Use the links above to find out more and register online.
For the full list of upcoming professional learning here at SVRC – take a look at our professional learning page.

SVRC Expo 2018: Is Your Head In The Cloud?

When: Tuesday 27 November 2018 from 10am to 2pm
Try something new. What is Aira and How Does It Work? The Latest Braille devices. Accessing Google Docs…

10:30am NV Access
NV Access are up first to tell us all about what’s new in the latest version of the free screen reader. They also will talk about Google’s cloud services, like Docs and Drive. And even answer your questions.
11:30am – Vision Australia
So how familiar are you with Google Home? What about Aira? The new personal assistant? We have an exciting presentation from Vision Australia that you definitely won’t want to miss.
12.30pm - SVRC
Presentation of prizes for the SVRC Writing Competition
1:30pm – SVRC
Last up, SVRC will tell you all about Seeing AI, and showcase some of the cool new features in iOS 12 so you can maximise the use of your iOS device.
Try magnification and screen reading software, audio books, navigation and optical character recognition devices, braille technology and more.
Navigate through the expo space independently with QR codes on each exhibitor’s table.

Cost: Free (and no need to register).

For further details: you can contact us!

Exhibiters Include:
  • ChildsPly
  • Guide Dogs Victoria
  • Humanware
  • Inclusive Technology – Monash University
  • Independent Vision
  • NV Access
  • Pacific Vision
  • Quantum RLV
  • Vision Australia
For more information, please visit:

No need to register – just come along on the day!

Dot Power Day

We now have 21 children eligible for the Dot Power Program, so we presented the program separately for 3 groups: Pre-school, Foundation and grades 1-3.
This term’s themes were based on careers: Scientist and Chef/Nutritionist. We aim for the children to read as much braille as possible, encouraging confidence, success and joy through re-reading, by singing along with the braille and by using it as a communication tool. We also aim to build tactual graphicacy (understanding tactual pictures and diagrams) and to learn concepts.

The children investigated the life cycle of a bean plant. They found bean seeds inside bean pods. They uprooted shoots, young plants and mature bean plants from individually planted pots. They rinsed off the roots and compared the plants with diagrams showing what we can see above the soil and what is below the soil. The children sang the Bean Song, read the book and did a music and movement activity to consolidate their learning.

We switched from Biology to Health Science, and enjoyed making smoothies with fruit, spices and yoghurt. As a warm-up the children sang the Yum Yuck Yum song, following along in the little book which had braille and a tactual image of ingredients on each page. We sang the book through several times, practicing turning the pages quickly! The children tasted samples of each ingredient, then noted which ingredients they had chosen by folding the corner of their ingredient book. They referred to the book again when putting the ingredients into their jug to take to the blender. They had read through the book about 6 times by the end of the session!!
A huge thank-you to families who set aside the day to bring their children. We love that families take the opportunity to network with each other, observe the program to collect ideas for school and home, and meet the SVRC staff, school staff and Visiting Teachers.

Thank you to everyone who helped with program: Visiting Teachers, school staff, volunteers and SVRC staff. We really appreciate everything that everyone does.
We look forward to seeing most of the children at Dot Power next year and a few of the older children at Support Skills!

VCE Special Provision for 2019 External Examinations

The last day for schools to submit Special Examination Arrangement applications for the 2019 external assessments is Friday March 1, 2019. If you have any students doing any year 12 (Units 3 & 4) subjects in 2019, please make sure schools are aware of this date. SVRC can offer support around what Special Examination Arrangements can be applied for by students with vison impairments. Some of these are not necessarily in the written VCAA guidelines. Please contact us for information. VCAA has many provisions to try to make the assessment process as fair for all students as possible.

We would like to ensure that all schools are aware of the possibilities.
Contact Marion Blazé -

ABC and Screen Australia Unite on DisRupted


ABC Children’s and Screen Australia have partnered on an exciting new funding
program to showcase and amplify the work of Australian creatives and content makers with disability.

DisRupted will fund three to four individuals or teams to make a standalone film to reflect and capture what it’s like to be a young person with disability in Australia, and provide them with the opportunity to disrupt and reframe how disability is understood. The films will be broadcast on ABC ME on the International Day of People with Disability in 2019 for the 8 -12-year-old demographic.

DisRupted will provide a career-changing opportunity for new and diverse talent in front and behind the camera. The authorship of each film is to be driven by a creative with disability as either Writer, Producer and/or Director.

The successful applicants will be given up to $100,000 each to create a film of approximately 20 minutes’ duration. They may be mentored and partnered by experienced producers, and receive editorial guidance from ABC Acting Head of Children’s, Libbie Doherty and Executive Producer, Amanda Isdale, and Screen Australia Head of Development, Nerida Moore and Development Executive, Ester Harding.

Applications open today, Wednesday 31st October, and the initiative is open to creators with disability aged 18 years and older. Applications close on Wednesday 12th December, 2018.

DisRupted is set to premiere on ABC ME, the ABC ME App and ABC iview in December 2019 as part of the International Day of People with Disability.
For more information, please visit the website –

Focus on Ability


In each episode of Focus on Ability we'll get to know a person with a disability and highlight their many abilities in the workplace. We’ll also uncover the broader issues on how businesses can continue the conversation and engage with an underutilised talent pool.

Listen in as we explore the lives of people with plenty of ability
Focus on Ability is a podcast series proudly brought to you by NOVA Employment. NOVA is a supported employment program that offers specialist job seeking assistance for people who have a disability or significant barriers to work.

Perkins Repairs

There are currently three repairers available to repair or service your Perkins Brailler.
Perkins Braille Repairs

Tim Weis is a local repairer who is happy to collect from and drop off braillers via the SVRC.
9 Elder Street, Blackburn, 3130
Mob: 0402 571766

Brailler Repairs and Maintenance
Kevin Partridge
PO Box 78, Taralga NSW 2580
Tel: (02) 4840 2389
Mob: 0418 29 8179

Precision Brailler Repair
Ian Newham
PO Box 1120 Ingleburn NSW 1890
Mob: 0425 280 620

Chalk Board Adhesive Roll

A Visiting Teacher has introduced us to Vinyl Adhesive Chalkboard Roll which can be used on Reading/Writing Stands to reduce glare – and write on with chalk.

It is self-adhesive and can also be stuck to walls or the floor. It comes in a roll of 45cm x 2m and is available from Kmart for $3.

UEB Online


UEB Online is a training program for sighted people to learn Unified English Braille (UEB). Unified English Braille has been adopted by many countries and replaces standard english braille. This program is the first online UEB training tool. The program is suitable for classroom and specialist teachers, parents, teacher aides and other professionals supporting children and adults with vision impairment.
This program has been created by the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children’s Renwick Centre. We acknowledge the support and permission from the Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities and Australian Braille Authority for the adaptation of content from the Unified English Braille: Australian Training Manual, 2014 (edited by Howse, J., Riessen, K., & Holloway, L.).

Students with a vision impairment can use the accessible version of UEB Online which provides a much more screen reader friendly version of exercise completion. You can find that site at UEBOnline Accessible.

Braille Tutor: Learn Braille on your iPad


Learn and practice contracted braille (Unified English Braille) with Braille Tutor!
Braille Tutor provides an interactive learning experience for a sighted or blind braille learner. The App works on iPad using onscreen keys or home keys on a Bluetooth keyboard. It is self-voiced, but also works with iOS accessibility.

The free Braille Tutor app will start you off, then an inexpensive in app purchase allows you to go all the way through the code.

Workshop: Create Interactive Tactile Story Books

Leona Holloway will be co-hosting a workshop on using e-textiles to create interactive tactile story book pages. Co-hosts are Kirsten Ellis (e-textiles expert from Monash University) and Louise Curtin (tactile story books expert from Feelix Library). It should be a fun day and we very much hope that you can join us. Register now as places are limited.

When: Tuesday 22 January 2019
Time: 10am-1pm
Location: MPavilion, Queen Victoria Gardens, Melbourne
Cost: Free


Student in the News

Will Hipkin's dream was to play professional Aussie Rules football.
Will describes losing his vision suddenly as a teenager on a recent episode of The Project and talks about how this led him to play AFL Football Blind.

View the video on The Project.

Life Hack for Parents who are Blind

Blind parents who featured in ABC Life recently, put bells on their daughter's boots so they could hear where she was in the house. Full article:


Leanne Menzies of Penola Catholic College has successfully completed the SVRC Braille Course by Correspondence! In the final test, she made just one mistake – very good work!

Santa Mail in Alternative Format

From: Australia Post

With Christmas just around the corner, Australia Post is busy preparing for another year of Santa Mail. Their posties will be making their first trip up to the North Pole very soon, to deliver the most important letters of the year.
Sharing the magic with children

Each year children are encouraged to take their pencils (and crayons) to paper and send their letters, drawings and wish lists to Santa. This year Australia Post posties are helping Santa deliver braille and large text replies.

There are some festive templates on the Australia Post website to help you get started (

Include the full name and return address of each child on the back of their envelope.
Check that the letter has a 65c stamp on it.
Send letters to:

Santa Mail (large text), North Pole 9999

Post letters early and before Friday 14 December 2018

Norma Turns 90!!

Some of you might remember a tenacious and talented Visiting Teacher (in the West) and the first manager of the resource centre, even before it had its name. Norma Schultz celebrated her 90th birthday on Saturday November 10, and a couple of SVRC folk celebrated with her friends and family.


It has been another record-breaking year in Production this year with over 3,000 requests made in 2018, including 200 for the 2019 school year!!! With learning materials in students' preferred format, they are able to achieve their potential!!!
– Deb Lewis (Ed)
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