Hello Bulletin subscriber,

Welcome to issue 14 (2018) of our fortnightly newsletter, The Bulletin!

Inside This Issue

Here's what you'll find:
  • From SVRC: Dates for Your Diary, Support Skills Come and Try Day, SVRC Writing Competition
  • Features: New!!! Reading Adventure Time is HERE!!!, Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS)
  • Technology: Useful Links for Windows 10, JAWS & ZoomText, Assistive Tech Videos from AFB, File Formats for Victor Reader, Ballyland Stay Still Squeaky!
  • PD: Braille Maths Workshop, Dialogue in the Dark, SPEVI Conference 2020
  • Activities & Recreation: Braille & Audio Classical Guitar Lessons, Applying Makeup, Blind Tennis Try Day, Dickinson Memorial Literary Competition
Check updated The Bulletin archive for back issues!

Dates for Your Diary – Terms 3 & 4 2018

Here is a list of our planned PD and other activities:
Braille Maths Workshop: 20 September (information below)
Preparing for a braille-reading student: PL for school personnel. 16 October 9am to 1pm with the option to stay on to start learning braille! – More information and registrations by phoning Marion Blazé on 03 9841 0242.
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: Friday 16 November (information below)
Technology Expo: Tuesday 27 November
Christmas Morning Tea: PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE!! For the first time in living memory, we will hold this celebration on a TUESDAY– 4 December. (We are running out of Wednesdays which we need for EVAC clinics!).Please RSVP and come along at 11am.
Note: 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.

Braille Maths Workshop at SVRC

When: Thursday 20 September, 9.30am to 1pm
More and more students who are blind or have low vision, are choosing to do Maths subjects in later schooling. Hopefully this reflects better technology and teaching practices in including students in Maths programs. In order to continue this trend, we are offering a workshop to enhance your skills.

This free workshop with Charlie Roberts, will look at the braille maths code, adapting visual concepts, overwriting of braille maths and more.
Morning tea will be provided, but BYO lunch.

Online registration and more information is available here.


When: Friday November 16th 2018
Where: Statewide Vision Resource Centre, 370 Springvale Road, Donvale
Time: 9:30 to 1:15pm
Who: Students considering the Support Skills Program for 2019 and their families.
RSVP: Friday 2 November to Garry Stinchcombe at via the online form

Who can attend the Support Skills Program?
Any student who meets the eligibility criteria as partially sighted, legally blind or totally blind as determined by the Education Vision Assessment Clinic (EVAC)
Students who will be between Grades 4 and Year 10 in 2019

Students from Government, Catholic Education or Independent Schools
Need to be currently enrolled in a Victorian school

Students attend the program once or twice a term. The focus of the program is on the Expanded Core Curriculum, those subject areas specifically related to their requirements as a learner with a vision impairment. These include: Assistive Technology, Braille, Vision Issues, Careers, Social and Communication Skills, Braille and large Print Music, Physical Education, Creative Art, Braille Maths and Tactual Graphics, Orientation and Mobility, Independent Living Skills, Library and Research Skills, and Study Skills. These subjects will be taught by SVRC staff and our partner organisations, such as Guide Dogs Victoria and Vision Australia.

Many students who are blind or have low vision benefit from additional opportunities to build on these skill areas and meet with other students who have similar needs. This opportunity for positive association is of great assistance for many students.
This program does not replace the classroom program, nor is it a substitute for a Visiting Teacher, rather it is a time where students can concentrate their efforts and energy on enhancing those skills and awareness which will support their inclusion in their local schools.

We are currently taking enrolments for 2019. The Come And Try Program allows students and their families to participate in the program for half a day, meet with the staff teaching in the program and have an opportunity to assess its suitability and ask questions.

If families would like to explore this option for their child in 2019 then please complete the online form at

Please return the form to us by Friday 2nd November.We would encourage families to speak to their child’s Visiting Teacher and school to discuss the appropriateness of this program in context of their child’s overall education plan.

If families, Visiting Teachers or School Staff have any questions prior to the day or need further clarification about the program, please call and speak to either Garry Stinchcombe or Marion Blaze, SVRC Manager on (03) 9841 0242.

NEW!!! Reading Adventure Time is HERE!!!

Introduction from Frances Mary D'Andrea

A couple of years ago I presented at SPEVI about a project I was part of – creating an app that can be used with an iPad to help kids practice braille reading skills. That app is now available in the iTunes store AND it’s available for FREE for anyone who wants it!
Message from Dr. Cheryl Kamei

Reading Adventure Timeis FINALLY in the Apple app store. Hooray! Reading Adventure Time– a teacher centric, student friendly app that includes activities and assessment to help students build reading skills. This OSEP funded app is FREEfor anyone to use. The app provides activities that support reading improvements in speed, accuracy, and comprehension. Teachers may add multiple students to an account and track progress over time. The content is geared to support braille reading students in grades 1st-12th. An iPad or iPad mini and braille display are required. Note: the app is not available for use on android devices or iPhones.
Instructions for installing the app on your iPad:
  • Your iPad must be connected to wifi
  • Open this email on your iPad
  • Click on this link to find Reading Adventure Time
  • If you have a previous version of Reading Adventure Time on your iPad please delete it before installing the new version
  • Once you have installed the app you will need to sign up. Click sign upand answer the questions.
  • After you have answered the questions you will receive an email from Check your spam filter if you do not receive the email.
  • At the very bottom of the email message, after the sincerelysalutation you will see your unique teacher ID number.
  • You will use your email as your user name and your teacher ID number to login.
  • Once you have logged in you will begin on the Student Roster page. You will see Demo student. We recommend that you explore the app to familiarize yourself with the app before you start working with your students, using this demo profile.
  • On the student roster page you can add students to your roster by clicking the add new studentbutton and completing the demographics questionnaire.
You're ready to go!
We will be hosting webinar training sessionson the following dates/times:
Monday September 10, 1pm PCT, 2pmMT, 3pmCT, and 4pm ECT.
Wednesday September 19, 2pm PCT, 3pmMT, 4pmCT, and 5pmECT.
Wednesday September 26, 3pm PCT, 4pmMT, 5pmCT, and 6pmECT.
Tuesday October 2, 1pm PCT, 2pmMT, 3pmCT, and 4pm ECT.
To register to attend a training session, please RSVP to Seanarae Smith:

For further information about Reading Adventure Time, contact Cheryl Kamei-Hannan, PhD, Professor and Coordinator of the Education Specialist Credential in Visual Impairment and Blindness, Division of Special Education and Counseling, Charter College of Education, California State University, Los Angeles: or

Dialogue in the Dark – still free for teachers (and Visiting Teachers)

Dialogue in the Darkis a social enterprise on a mission to educate and raise awareness of diversity in the community. You are taken on a journey in complete darkness (with a cane) and guided by a guide who is blind.

Dialogue in the Dark is in Docklands and is open Tuesdays to Sundays from 10am till 5pm. Tours depart every 20 minutes with a maximum of 7 persons per tour. If teachers have a specific date/time in mind, they can book that in. They are also welcome to use their free teacher ticket on Weekends and School Holidays.

Dialogue in the Dark is an immersive experience designed to push your senses and problem-solving skills to the limit. Students move through a simulated Melbourne, guided by a skilled facilitator with low vision or blindness.

DiD loves to accommodate School groups and believes it is a wonderful experience to add to their curriculum. Dialogue in the Dark conducts incursions and excursions for schools, as part of a curriculum-based learning activity. They are designed for primary and secondary students who learn:
  • empathy: understanding how people with low vision or blindness interact and experience day-to-day live
  • non-visual communication: speaking and listening skills
  • confidence: through overcoming fears
  • self-awareness: of who they are.
For more information about incursions and excursions for students, visit:

Teachers can email Jess or the Box Office Team directly and the DiD team will book them into a tour of their choice!
Jess New: or

SVRCs Annual Writing Competition, 2018: My Dream App

Describe an app (or, if you like, a piece of technology) that would tick all the boxes for you.
  • What would it do?
  • How would it work?
  • What problem would it solve?
  • You can be constructive and/or creative.
There will be prizes in each age category and certificates for every entry.
Submissions should be no more than 500 words, in whatever format you prefer (braille, email, recorded voice with or without sound effects, print with or without pictures).
Submissions are due November 7 (after Cup Day), 2018.
Please include your name, school, year level and contact details so we can send you a prize.

Send to Marion Blazé, SVRC, PO Box 201, Nunawading 3131 or

Better still, if you attend our SVRC Expo on November 27, 2018, we will present your prize!

Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS)


The Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS) covers a range of access and equity programs offered by tertiary institutions. SEAS is a single application that is sent to all the courses you apply to.

What is special consideration (SEAS)?

If there have been circumstance that have made it hard for you to do your best at study, you should consider putting in a special consideration application via VTAC’s Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS). The Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS) is designed to make sure institutions get a sense of your full potential and it enables institutions to consider the circumstances you have experienced and their impact upon your studies when making selection decisions.

SEAS also allows institutions to identify applicants from under-represented groups when making selection decisions for some courses.

The Special Entry Access Scheme (SEAS) allows selection officers to grant special consideration for course entry to applicants but does not exempt you from meeting any of the institutional and course entry requirements.

Whether you are currently studying Year 12 or applying as an adult, you may be eligible for consideration.

SEAS application dates 2018

Application and supporting documentation closes: 5pm on 12 October 2018
Eligibility for SEAS

You are eligible to apply for SEAS if you hold:
  • Australian or New Zealand citizenship
  • a permanent Australian residency visa, or
  • an eligible Temporary, Bridging or Safe Haven Enterprise visa and are an Australian Year 12 applicant.
Additionally, you need to have applied for a course through VTAC and met the course and institutional requirements. SEAS only becomes available once you have lodged a course application.

SEAS categories

There are four categories in SEAS. You can apply for all the categories that are relevant to your situation, so long as you apply to each category for a different reason. Further information about each of these categories is available from the links below.
Visit institutions that recognise SEAS, to find out which categories each institution recognises.

Some Useful Resources and Links

Prepared by Glen Morrow and Garry Stinchcombe, June 8 2018

Some Resources for Windows 10 and related shortcut keys and keystrokes
Please consider bookmarking or saving these in your Favourites for future quick reference.
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Calculator
  • Game bar
  • Groove
  • Maps
  • Movies & TV
  • Paint
  • Paint 3D
  • Photos
Some JAWS Resources to Use with Google Drive and Docs
Article: Google Drive with JAWS
By John Rose, Texas School For the Blind is a step-by-step guide offers an introduction to the key components of Google Drive for JAWS users

Glen's Suggested Resources for Mac and IOS

Zoomtext Resource
The video below is about ZoomText 11 but it’s relevant to ZoomText 2018.

Learn Tech: Assistive Technology Videos from AFB

Thanks Garry for this info that came from a recent Flying Blind Newsletter:
The American Foundation for the Blind recently launched Learn Tech, an access initiative that features free online tutorials to help people who are blind or have low vision improve computer and technology skills. Visit:
Extract from the AFB website:

Many helpful products exist that were designed specifically to help people with vision loss or other disabilities access information, including everything from screen readers for blind individuals or screen magnifiers for low-vision computer users, video magnifiers and other devices for reading and writing with low vision, to braille watches and braille printers.

AFB's goal is to provide you with the information you need to learn about available technology and even discover new ways to use technology to enhance your everyday life. To that end, we have created some captioned, audio-described videos that show important categories of assistive technology in action.

Would you like to know whenever new technology information is added to our website? If so, join the AFB mailing list for a daily or weekly digest of news tailored to your interests.

Here are a couple to get you started:

Learn NVDA: NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access) is a free screen reader that allows people who are blind or visually impaired to use computers. Learn how to install NVDA on your computer, how to use NVDA Hotkeys, and more.
Google Docs and Drive: Learn how to use Google Docs and Google Drive with the free NVDA screen reader

File Formats that Victor Reader can Read

Source: User Guide 7.5 Text Bookshelf and Garry Stinchcombe
The following file formats are able to be used on the Victor Reader. These text-based files can be read out using synthetic speech.
  • Brf (braille format)
  • Docx (Yes)!
  • Html (Widely used format)
  • Rtf (Rich Text Format) A good option.
  • Txt (not used that much these days but is similar to rtf).
  • Xml (still used sometimes)
Garry's three preferred formats are:
  1. .docx
  2. .rtf
  3. Html
Several VTs are encouraging students to, for example, listen to Word files (.docx) from the Victor Reader along with touch-reading a braille book. This can support the student's braille-reading comprehension, speed, fluency … and reading enjoyment.

Ballyland Stay Still, Squeaky!

From: Phia Damsma, Creative Director of Sonokids

Ballyland Stay Still, Squeaky! is a new app for beginning users of iPad who are blind or have low vision. It is a:
  • a fun "Cause & Effect" Story that responds to touch with audio feedback
  • a Game that helps to develop finger drag skills and build spatial awareness on the iPad
Get Ballyland Stay Still, Squeaky! from the AppStore

For those of you who wonder if this app is the same as the Stay Still, Squeaky iBook:
The story is the same as the story from the iBook, which is no longer available. But on top of the story, the app includes a brand new Bonus game, which you can access after having listened to Squeaky’s story at least once. In this game, you need to listen carefully and drag your finger along the screen to specific spots of dirt, and ‘collect’ them in the correct order (touch and hold). Then a mini story plays out as a reward and you also score points.

Please note that the grid pictured on the screen in the game is only for visual support, and is not relevant to the gameplay for children who are blind. This as opposed to Ballyland Sound Memory, where the game revolves around an accessible digital grid with rows and columns.

Coming soon: Ballyland Code ‘n’ Wheelie app, an accessible introduction to coding.

To stay updated on new Ballyland apps, subscribe to the newsletter at

Braille and Audio Classical Guitar Lessons Now Available

From Emily White who found it on the TSBVI website

"Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired is happy to introduce Let's Play!a collection of step-by-step Braille and audio classical guitar lessons.
The Let's Play!curriculum was designed by Joseph Palmer and TSBVI Music teacher Jeremy Coleman along with Dr. Matthew Hinsley of Austin Classical Guitar and the GuitarCurriculum.comeducation team. There are six levels of instruction and a guide to tuning a guitar – all free to download at You may also order a printed braille packagefrom the TSBVI Online Store for $20.
TSBVI appreciates the efforts of all those who made this resource possible and encourages educators and enthusiasts to take full advantage of"

Applying Makeup! "A Full Blind Girl Makeup Tutorial"

Joy Ross, a young blind woman, describes her daily makeup routine in one of a series of YouTube videos. Starting with her Foundation, Joy describes how she applies her makeup to ensure a good coverage and no annoying lines at the chin/neck. She uses a brush to apply her blush to the "apple of your cheek" and swoop it towards your hairline, blending and brushing. She describes her use of powder, eye shadow, mascara, lipstick and so on. Joy indicates the brands she prefers and how she goes shopping for products as they begin to run out. And she describes how she identifies the different colours in her makeup collection.

The video is 36 minutes long but very clear and easy to follow:

Come and Try: Blind and Vision Impaired Tennis

When: Saturday 16 September 11am to 2pm
Where: National tennis Centre, Melbourne Park
Who: Adults and children of all abilities are welcome to come and try out Blind and Vision Impaired Tennis for free!

Notice of Upcoming SPEVI Conference

From Frances Gentle and Phia Damsma, SPEVI Co-Presidents
When: 12 to 15 January 2020
Where: Adelaide

Preparations are underway to create an exciting and accessible conference that will showcase current research and practice in the field of education for children and young people with vision impairment.

Information will be available in the coming months, including a call for papers and presentations.

Dickinson Memorial Literary Competition 2018

Braille House invites Australian residents with a vision impairment to submit their poems or stories for the annual Dickinson Memorial Literary Competition. This year’s theme is "Imagination". Submissions should be in hard-copy Braille, a Word document, Simbraille or a Duxbury-readable file. The word limit is 1500 words for Junior students (12 years or under) or 2000 words for Senior students (13-17 years) and Adults (18 years and older).
  • Adult Short Story
  • Adult Poem/Song Lyrics/Limerick
  • Adult Article/Opinion eg: self-reflection, blog
  • Senior Student Creative Category, eg: story, poem, song lyrics, limerick, blog
  • Junior Student Creative Category, eg: story, poem, song lyrics, limerick, blog
Further details are outlined in the Dickinson Memorial Literary Comp 2018 Flyer and Guidelines.

Competition closes: 14 September 2018
Send your entries to:The Competition Receiving Officer,Braille House, PO Box 610, Annerley, Qld 4103 or via email to:

Cost: Adults and Senior students $10 per item; Junior students $5 per item

Entry form: Dickinson Memorial Comp Entry Form 2018

Rock Climbing Fun for Kids!

Where: Gravity Worx, 182-184 Sussex Street, Pascoe Vale
Date: Saturday 6th of October
Time: 11:00am - 1:00pm
Cost: FREE

Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria invites kids of all ages who are blind or have low vision to an indoor rock climbing session to improve overall confidence and connect socially.

Nibbles Provided


Places are limited so please email Miriam Bilander on or telephone (03) 98228876

iOS Basics online course - report

For the last few Wednesday afternoons, 20+ teachers have been hopping online to learn about iOS Basics - how to use the accessibility options on iPads and iPhones.

Glen Morrow took us all through things like gestures, navigating using VoiceOver, editing, Mail, Notes and more. We even learnt the rotor’ – a handy little gesture!

We watched Glen demonstrate on his iPad on our screens, while he explained, and we also had the opportunity to chip in with questions in the chat window.

If you have not experienced an online course like this, you should! They are a very user-friendly way to learn and accessible from anywhere.

Some comments from participants:

‘Glen's delivery is very precise and clear. His demonstrations were very thorough and detailed. He broke down each demo so that it was easy to understand.’

‘I like how there was a visual of Glen’s iPad that allowed to me follow his steps on my own iPad.’

‘Very relevant topic for Vision Support Teachers.’

Thanks Glen!!


Spring has sprung! Enjoy the blossom, daffodils and the warmer weather!
– Deb Lewis (Ed)
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