Hello Bulletin subscriber,

Inside This Issue

Here's what you'll find:
  • From SVRC & VTs: Dates for Your Diary, Coding for Students who are Blind, Student News, SVRC Tables for Free
  • Technology: Using Google Docs Tutorial, IBOX MusicXML Reader
  • PD: Inclusive Education Grants Initiative – Study for a Masters in VI
  • Recreation and Activities: Premiers' Reading Challenge 2018, Space Camp 2018, Camp Mittagundi 2018, "Personal" – Described Performance, Dickinson Memorial Literary Competition, Onkyo Braille Essay Competition
Check updated The Bulletin archive for back issues!

Dates for Your Diary – 2018

Here is a list of our planned PD and other activities:
  • Art4Kids with VI: 2 May
  • [Round Table: 5-8 May in Sydney]
  • Dot Power Term 2: 8 May (for pre-school and Foundation/Prep)
  • VT Master Class: 12 June
  • Dot Power: 19 June (new date for Year 1 to 3s)
  • [Braille Music Camp: 30 June to 7 July in NSW]
  • Dot Power: 7 August (for pre-school and Foundation/Prep)
  • Educational Support for Students who have Low Vision: Tuesday 14 August
  • Dot Power: 11 September (new date for Year 1 to 3s)
  • [Space Camp: September-October in USA]
  • Dot Power: 30 October (for pre-school and Foundation/Prep)
  • Dot Power: 13 November (new date for Year 1 to 3s)
  • 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 to request a session.

Inclusive education postgraduate scholarship program – Apply now!

Applications for the first round of scholarships under the Inclusive Education Grants initiative are now open to all Victorian government school teachers. The initiative provides support for teachers who wish to undertake postgraduate study in special needs education, including a focus on vision impairment.

Scholarship applications are open to all current teachers in Victorian government schools. Applicants need to demonstrate how completing their chosen course will support inclusive practices in their classroom and their school more broadly. Applicants require principal endorsement of their application.

Scholarships are available to support tuition fees and a contribution toward casual relief teaching costs for the following courses:
  • Master of Disability Studies, Macquarie University*
  • Master of Specialist Inclusive Education, Deakin University
  • Master of Education – Inclusive & Special Education, Monash University
  • Master of Special Education, La Trobe University
  • Master of Learning Intervention, University of Melbourne
  • Master of Special and Inclusive Education, University of Newcastle
*The Master of Disability Studies is administered and delivered by RIDBC Renwick Centre in affiliation with Macquarie University. It includes a specialisation in Education: Vision Impairment.

Applicants are advised to read the application guidelines and frequently asked questions prior to applying.
Applications should be made online via the Smarty Grants system before Sunday 3 June 2018; see Inclusive Education Grants – Scholarships – Semester 2, 2018

For any enquiries, please email:

Premiers' Reading Challenge 2018

The Victorian Premiers' Reading Challenge opened in February this year. The Challenge encourages children from Pre-school to Year 10 to read a set number of books from a provided list and record their efforts online. Children can read as part of their school or if the school is not registered, parents can register their children as a home-based student.

The SVRC has many of the books available in alternative format; take a look at the SVRC catalogue:
Key Dates
  • Now: register your child and make an online note of the books that your child reads
  • 7 September: Challenge ends
  • October: Online Honour roll featuring a congratulatory video to be published on the Challenge website
  • November: Certificates issued to early childhood services managers, school principals and home based settings for distribution
More information:

Space Camp 2018

Planning for Space Camp 2018 is moving along. Chaperones Gayle, Hilary and Peter met with most of the interested students and family members recently to talk about the itinerary, fundraising and the SCIVIS program itself. The following students are interested:
  • Boedhi (VT Jeni Blake) – Year 8 (travelling on a Space Camp scholarship)
  • Corey (VT Jeni Blake) – Year 10 (travelling on a Lighthouse Scholarship)
  • Kelly (VT Myriam Ash) – Year 10
  • Konna (VT Gabriela Thompson) – Year 9
  • Luke (VT Gayle Skinner) – Year 8
  • Matthew (VT Gayle Skinner) – Year 10
  • Yuto Kawai (VT Sally Fathers) – Year 10 (travelling on a Lighthouse Scholarship)
More space Camp news as it comes to hand!

Camp Mittagundi 2018


The 10-day program sees groups of up to 24 young people, accompanied by two clydesdale horses, walk away from electricity and modern comforts, through the Victorian High Country and into the 400 acre pioneer-style property, that is Mittagundi.

They spend time working together on the farm, fencing, growing food, milking cows, working with wood, steel and wool. Then embark on adventures rafting the Mitta Mitta River and abseiling off a local cliff face before walking back through the mountains and returning to civilisation.

The atmosphere at Mittagundi is simple, honest and happy. There are no watches, no timetables and no money. Instead there is an opportunity for young people to live and work together with others in an environment where people matter more than anything else.

School-aged students from the age of 14 are invited to attend one of the 10-day programs. Camp Mittagundi is keen for students with vision impairments to be involved.

Upcoming dates:
Girls #461: Friday 21st September - Sunday 30th September (Vic School Holidays)
Boys #462: Friday 12th October - Sunday 21st October
Girls #463: Friday 2nd November - Sunday 11th November (Cup Weekend Victoria)
Boys #464: Friday 16th November - Sunday 25th November
Mixed #465: Friday 30th November - Sunday 9th December. (Full – waiting list only)

Tutorial: Using Google Docs

Late last year Danny Keogh from Quantum RLV conducted a presentation on Using Google Docs and Google Drive with JAWS and this is now available on YouTube:

IBOS MusicXML Reader

Now blind musicians can acquire music notes on the same terms as sighted people with the IBOS MusicXML Reader program, and it is free of charge! The Danish Institute for The Blind and Visually impaired has developed a software program, which can show the notes of musical pieces on a braille display and read them out as text. The music can be played back too.

The IBOS MusicXML Reader is designed for screen reader users from scratch, by a team of blind and visually impaired musicians and ICT specialists.

The IBOS MusicXML Reader provides instant access to digital music scores from selected websites for the blind including professional and amateur musicians, as well as students and teachers.

Described Performance: Personal by Jodee Mundee Collaborations

It wasn’t until Jodee Mundy was five years old and lost at Kmart that she realised the rest of her family was Deaf. She didn’t see ‘disability’ – only the love and protection of those closest to her.

In Personal, she conveys her experience as the only hearing person in a Deaf family, through a captivating blend of performance, storytelling, multimedia and animation. Mundy delves into the contradictions of inhabiting two worlds: living in a Deaf family, where using sign language is natural; and living in a society that sees only the family’s disability with voyeuristic curiosity. The role children of Deaf adults play in paving the way for their family – as interpreter, authority, conduit – is central to this very intimate story. Created with a talented team of collaborators and presented in two languages via a virtual interpreter, Personal is a smart, touching and deeply personal work exploring dis/ability and how we perceive one another.

Where: Arts House, 521 Queensberry St, North Melbourne.
When: Sunday April 29, tactile tour from 4pm, performance from 5pm.
How much: Tickets cost between $25 and $35; companion card available.
Bookings: Call Arts House during business hours on (03) 9322 3720 or visit: Description Victoria

Dickinson Memorial Literary Competition 2018

Queensland's Braille House is again conducting their annual writing competition. To be eligible to enter, writers "must be a resident of Australia who is either legally blind or has low or no vision".
Theme: Imagine
Age at closing date: Junior (12 years or under); Senior (13 to 17 years); Adult (over 18 years)

Submission format: hard-copy braille, a Word document, SimBraille or a Duxbury-readable file.

Entry fees: Junior - $5; Senior students and adults - $10
Closing date: 31 August 2018

For further information and/or an entry form email:

Onkyo Braille Essay Competition 2018

Source: Samantha Marsh, Blind Citizens Australia
The World Blind Union Asia Pacific Onkyo Braille Essay competition is now open for entries.

The contest is for people who are blind or have low vision and are living in the Asia Pacific region. The Project is sponsored by the Onkyo Corporation Ltd. and The Braille Mainichi Newspaper in Japan, in collaboration with the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific WBUAP.

The Onkyo World Braille Essay Contest is a worldwide initiative planned and sponsored by Onkyo Corporation Ltd. and the Braille Mainichi in Japan, and is implemented by the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific (WBUAP). It is administered locally by the Australian National Onkyo Selection Committee for the World Braille Essay Contest. The

Committee comprises representatives from Blind Citizens Australia and other blindness agencies and organisations whose focus is on information access and braille.
The purpose of the contest is to promote braille literacy and encourage the reading and writing of braille; and to encourage cultural and social interaction among blind and vision impaired persons through their writings. The top 5 entries will be sent to the WBUAP Onkyo Selection Committee for final consideration, and any winning Australian entries will be published in Blind Citizens News.

This is an annual competition, with cash prizes awarded to the best seven entries received from within the WBU Asia Pacific Region. The main prize, "the Otsuki Prize" is $US 1000. Other prizes are for "Excellent Works" ($US 500) and "Fine Works" (either $US 300 or $US 200) depending on the age group. Participation in the contest is open to people from 14 years of age, living in the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific Region. Entries are divided into two age groups: persons between the ages of 14 and 25 years; and persons from the age of 26 years upwards.
Essay topics:
  • Having Overcome the Challenges of Blindness, How I Can or Have Contributed to Society
  • The Significance of Braille in the IT Era
  • How Music Has Shaped My Life and Changed the Attitude of Society Towards Blindness
Closing date is 15 May 2018. Winners will be notified in November 2018.
Essays must be between 700 and 1,000 words and presented in hard copy braille or in computerized braille if you can provide proof of your braille literacy. This can be in the form of a letter from your braille instructor, teacher or other professional who can vouch for your skills.

When submitting your essay to BCA, you must also provide:
An electronic photo of yourself, a cover letter stating your full name, address, and contact details, your date of birth, your status i.e. student, home maker, worker. If a student, state what school you are from including the name, address and email contact for your school.

Please submit entries to BCA by May 15 2018 at:
Attention: Samantha Marsh,

Blind Citizens Australia
Ross House
Level 3, 247-251 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

Coding for Students who are Blind

Are there any teachers or families using/supporting coding for upper primary students who are blind and would like to be involved in information collection and discussion, please contact Deb Lewis at SVRC.

Student News

Year 10 student, Nick, has been awarded this year's Geelong RSL ANZAC Award – for perseverance and determination through adversity. His Visiting Teacher reports that this is "wonderful!!".

Ed: I wonder if there is a corresponding award for Nick's dad, who has driven Nick, his older brother and older sister to separate Support Skills groups from Geelong for many years! I'd like to add: "Congratulations to Nick's dad!" as well.

SVRC: Tables for Free

We have purchased some new tables for students at SVRC to replace the ones we inherited from Vision Australia. We would like to offer the old tables to readers of The Bulletin and their friends and families. They are sturdy, height adjustable tables. There's room for 2 students side by side. They can be adjusted for students from pre-school to secondary school-sized students. They might be handy as a bedroom desk but are also sturdy enough to use in a workshop. All of our Dot Power and Support Skills students have used these tables, so they might be a fun reminder of the good old days at VA or SVRC!

We're also looking for homes for our grey, stackable chairs (about 40). Please let us know if you would like them.

Staff News

We welcome Dianne Hewes as our most recent staff appointment (4 days per week) here at the SVRC. Dianne worked for many years at Leader Newspapers and brings this knowledge to her new role as Braille Transcriber. Congratulations and welcome aboard Dianne!


Hoping that SVRC's international performer, Marion Blazé, is having a wonderful time on-stage and enjoying Europe's mid-Spring weather! I'm sure she'll have some stories upon her return! Is the rumour true that she'll be performing at Eurovision?

Deb Lewis (Ed and Acting SVRC Manager in Term 2, 2018)
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