Hello Bulletin subscriber,

Welcome to issue 15 (2018) of The Bulletin!

Inside this (mostly) school holiday activity Issue

Here's what you'll find:
  • From SVRC: Dates for Your Diary, Parking @ SVRC, Materials in Alternative Format for 2019
  • Technology: Ideas from Top Tech Tidbits, Google Home can Read Free Audio Books from Librivox, Freedom Scientific Webinar Archives for Free, APH Apps, Accessible Typing Program (Typio), Q&A: 3-D Printing
  • PD: Next Round of Inclusive Educational Scholarships, The Association Between Braille Reading History and Well-being for Blind Adults, Dialogue in the Dark,
  • Activities & Recreation: Sonic Labyrinth, I am Hear (Part of Fringe), Family Funday at Queen Vic Market, Melbourne Fringe with Audio Description, Rock Climbing for Kids, Marty's Blindfold Games, Come and Try AFL Blind, Audio Description at IMAX, SVRC Writing Competition,
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:
  • 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.
  • About Cortical Vision Impairment - Free Online PD Oct 22 and 29 3-4pm.
  • 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.

Dot Power - The Report

by Lea Nagel

Dot Power welcomed our older group of 7 children between the ages of 7 and 10, who use braille at school. The focus was Music again, featuring a rock band and rock band instruments.

The children enjoyed reading our book, The Magic Hat, which tells the story of Andy who wishes to be a rock star. Andy from the book came to life, and the book became a song played by a real live rock band! The children then joined the band, each on an instrument or microphone and we sang the Magic Hat song together: You can have one wish but just for one day! A sentence full of great braille contractions!

After morning tea, the children revised their braille music using our book: I can do braille music. Most of them have used this book before. They clapped rhythms from the braille music notation for note C crotchets, quavers and crotchet rests. They wrote some rhythms themselves and dictated them to our Rock Band drummer, Ed. It was fun challenging Ed with our rhythms!

The children wrote and illustrated a short story about a wish that they might make: something they might like to try. They had some great ideas including being able to breathe underwater, fly in the sky, play electric guitar and shopping for fashionable clothes! They enjoyed reading their stories out to each other.

The children enjoyed playing Swish Mini. They practised the skill of listening for a moving bell ball and learnt about the equipment and layout of the modified swish table. They practised asking their opponents by name if they were ready and then calling out “Play!” as they served the ball. Some of the children showed great promise – watch out for future champions!
Thanks to Swish Victoria for donating the Swish Balls for our sessions.

Swish is played in local areas at Kooyong, Bendigo, Croydon, Dandenong, Mildura, Mornington and Shepparton.

You might want to consider setting up your own Swish Mini table at school or home. It’s not expensive and it’s lots of fun! Please see our previous Bulletin for instructions!

ABC i-View meets Dot Power
Last Dot Power Day with the younger children featuring the Rock Band, a film crew from the ABC came to film some footage for their series, What Is Music? The series is really great fun to watch. Our episode is probably episode 11, which will be uploaded to ABC i-View soon. In the meantime, here’s a link to the show:

Parking @ SVRC

SVRC is situated within the grounds of Heatherwood School (370 Springvale Road, Donvale).

The Heatherwood School carpark is now CLOSED for the remainder of 2018.
If you are visiting SVRC, please note that Heatherwood are undergoing a substantial building program and the Heatherwood carpark can no longer be used.
SVRC parking is now in the lower carpark of the Manningham Donvale Indoor Sports Centre (DISC) just north of Heatherwood’s entrance. Enter the school grounds via the gate between Heatherwood and the DISC.

SVRC is on the left, past the house which is Heatherwood’s temporary office.

Free Online Learning Sessions About Cortical Vision Impairment

Cortical Vision Impairment is commonly associated with brain injuries, such as insufficiency of oxygen at birth, head injuries, hydrocephalus, or developmental brain anomalies, or infections such as encephalitis or meningitis. Children with cerebral palsy may experience CVI.

SVRC will present two one-hour online learning opportunities about Cortical Vision Impairment. Annette Godfrey-Magee, Deb Davidson and Marion Blazé will take you through the implications of CVI, which are very different from an ocular vision loss, the three ‘Phases’ in functional vision proposed by Dr Christine Roman, and considerations for working with children with CVI. Each one-hour session will include question time.

  • 3pm Monday October 22, 2018 and
  • 3pm Monday October 29, 2018
For more information and to register, click / tap here.

SVRC’s 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!

Ed: There's a fun school holiday activity for the kids – write your entry to the SVRC's Annual Writing Competition!

Marty's Blindfold Games


Started in 2014, Blindfold Games features over 80 audio games that are enjoyed around the world. Links to a short list appears below. Click on the game to go directly to the iTunes download page. All games are designed for rapid audio play and have been built with the help of dozens of gamers who are vision imapired.

Note: If you are using an iPad when searching for Blindfold Games in the App Store, make sure you un-check the setting IPAD ONLY.

Ed: If you highly recommend a game, please write a review! We'll publish it in The Bulletin!!!

Ideas from the Latest Top Tech Tidbits

Here are a few things to check out:

Soundscape Now Available in Australia
Soundscape provides information about your surroundings with synthesized binaural audio, creating the effect of 3D sound. It can run in the background in conjunction with navigation or other applications to provide you with additional context about the environment. Your phone, in hand or in pocket, tracks movement using location and activity sensors, and lets you move toward a self-set audio beacon. Soundscape runs on iPhone 5S or later and is compatible with most wired or Bluetooth stereo headsets. Microsoft Soundscape, described as "A Map Delivered in 3D Sound," is now available in Australia:

Seeing AI (Artificial Intelligence)
Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text and objects. See this video introduction:

FlickType, is a third-party keyboard which does a very good job at speeding up text entry on iOS. FlickType works by registering where on the keyboard you are tapping, not necessarily exactly which letters are being hit, and then uses various algorithms to predict the intended word. This allows you to type quickly and, as long as you are in the right general area for the word you intended, the app will usually get it right. For more information visit:

Free Android App Teaches Guitar to the Blind
Samsung Audio Acordes is a free app designed to teach guitar to people who are blind. Using a voice system, this app acts as a facilitator for blind or visually impaired people to learn to play the guitar. The app offers beginners an audio dictionary that teaches them how to play chords and can also tell users when to play which chord as a song progresses.


Google Home can Read Free Audio Books from Librivox

From Garry Stinchcombe

Google Home can read free audio books from librivox … and it will work in Australia!
Say hey google, let me talk to free book reader

When you do this, a voice will come up telling you that librivox has over 11000 audio books all in the public domain. It will give you a popular title then ask you to give an author, or a book title. It works very well. It will automatically go from chapter to chapter, and you can skip forward by track or go back a track. You can say hey google stop reading and your book will stop. If you say hey google good-bye, then you will exit free book reader and go back to the regular Google Home.

The one thing it can't do yet, is when you go back to free book reader is ask you if you want to continue reading in your chosen book. You can get back to the book again if you say its title. However, it is actually possible to get back to a certain chapter. Say you left off reading at chapter fourteen. When your book begins to play, just say hey google, go to chapter 14 and your book will announce playing chapter 14. This is very cool. Another source for audio books!

Sonic Labyrinth: Exploration


ArtPlay's New Ideas Lab supports artists and children to work together to develop new arts experiences. Can you find new ways to play with sound? How will sound lead you on a journey through the Labyrinth?

Come and explore the limitless possibility of sound using specially made and unconventional instruments built by the artists. Shine lights, create vibrations and move your body through space to activate and create your sonic journey. Experience sound in a way you have never imagined before! Come back in the January school holidays to continue on the creative journey and then in February to experience the complete Sonic Labyrinth!

Who: suits ages 7 to 10 years, adults not required to stay
When: Friday 5 October 2018
Time: 10.30am – noon, 2pm – 3.30pm
Location: ArtPlay, Birrarung Marr, Batman Avenue, Melbourne
Price: $16

To book: visit the link above
Please contact ArtPlay if your child has any access requirements: 03 9658 7880 or

Note: Also in the series is Sonic Labyrinth – Experiment (for ages 9 to 12)

I am Hear (Part of Fringe)
I am Hear is an immersive sonic experience by Aviva Endean and Justin Marshall created for small groups of young people.

Hear the fragile sounds of everyday objects alongside elusive tones of unusual instruments while blindfolded for a new listening experience.
Equal parts playful, puzzling, intense and relaxing, I am Hear exists in a space between experimental performance and sound meditation, inviting children to engage with deep listening and to hear the echoes of their inner worlds.

Who: 7 to 12 years. Each child must be accompanied by an adult.
When: 26 September to 27 September
Time: noon to 4pm (entry every 30 minutes till 3.30pm)
Location: ArtPlay, Birrarung Marr, Batman Avenue, Melbourne
Price: Free

To book: visit the link above

Ed: speaking of activities in and around Melbourne over the holidays, check out:

Family Funday at Queen Vic Market

Family Funday returns to Queen Vic Market this September, featuring a jam-packed line up of activities including an animal farm with lots of furry friends, mini golf and all of your usual Market favourites.

When: Sunday 23 September 2018, 9am – 4pm
Where: Queen Victoria Market, Cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne
Further information: or
Price: Free

Bookings: not required

Melbourne Fringe with Audio Description

From Will McRostie, Description Victoria and available here:

For the next 2.5 weeks Melbourne comes alive with artistic experiences in all sorts of places. Audio Description will be presenting a range of described events and experiences reflecting the breadth of the festival's unique experiences. Take part in a Deaf-led dance party, get to know Melbourne's newest ICON, and celebrate Disability Pride.

For answers to any questions about the program and to book tickets, you can call the Melbourne Fringe box office on 03 9660 9666 or email Alternatively, ticket links are included with each listing below. If you have any questions about audio description, you can call me on 0405 725 423 or reply to this email.

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

School holiday experience – Dialogue in the Dark – Free for teachers

Don’t forget, over the school holidays, teachers can book an experience at Dialogue in the Dark (Docklands) FREE.

Simply email Jess or the Box Office: or

Come and Try AFL BLIND!

Over the past 12 months, AFL Victoria in partnership with VicHealth have been developing an adapted version of Australian Rules football for Victorian’s with blindness and low vision.

Players involved in the testing days have described AFL Blind as:
  • A great way to get active and play a sport that seemed impossible
  • AFL BLIND is a great sport that gives blind and low vision of all abilities to connect, socialise, be part of a team, stay or get fit, in a fun and friendly but competitive environment.
  • AFL blind for me brings back so many memories of playing football fully sighted. Although it’s not exactly the same as AFL it is something every blind person should try.
For the first time, AFL Victoria are opening it up to everyone, by offering three come and try sessions for people with blindness or low vision. We are even opening these sessions up for people without a vision impairment to play with vision goggles or register to volunteer your help. We welcome male and female participants from 13 years of age and upwards. No sporting experience is required as skill sessions will be part of the day. With it all being FREE!

Saturday 22 September 10am-12pm
Saturday 6 October 10am-12pm
Saturday 20 October 10am-12pm

Venue: Tullamarine Action Indoor Sport, 2/10 Carrick Drive Tullamarine.

Note: the 902 bus stops out the front of the venue.

The game has been adapted so everyone can compete and feel safe. Some of the adaptations include:
  • The game is played indoors
  • You will be able to hear the footy as it has a siren sound inside, bright yellow in colour
  • Bluetooth speakers in between the goals to help identify the centre of the goals, also with flashing lights behind
  • Adapted marking and scoring rules for B1 players to ensure all levels of vision can play with and against each other
  • There is no tackling, a touch is equivalent to a tackle
  • Many of the players who took part in the trial have not played football before, so come on down and give it a try. See what you can achieve.
You must register to attend:

For more information please contact Tim Nield on or 0418 489 019.

See an ABC video showcasing AFL Blind:

World Sight Day & White Cane Day: October 2018

October is a chance to come together to celebrate all your achievements and the places you go

World Sight Day, Cranbourne, 11 Oct 2018
Experience the Australian Gardens by joining one of the guided walking or sensory bus tour options offered throughout the day.
Location: Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Cranbourne Gardens
Free bus transport available: from Cranbourne Train Station between 11am and 1pm
Date and time: Thursday 11 October 2018, 10am to 4pm
Cost: Tours vary from $6.50 - $10

White Cane Day, Arthurs Seat, 13 Oct 2018
Bring a picnic for a fun filled afternoon and a free ride on the Gondola!
Location: Arthurs Seat Eagle (Meet at Top Car Park) 795 Arthurs Seat Rd, Arthurs Seat VIC 3936
Free bus transport available: from Frankston Train Station transfer at 12:30pm and 4pm
Date and time: Saturday 13 October 2018, 1pm – 3pm
Cost: Free ride on The Eagle for vision impaired attendees (standard prices apply for all others wishing to go on The Eagle).

For both events: RSVP 8791 0201 or

Snack Attack!

Source: Guide Dogs Victoria

Snack Attack! Develop independence and valuable life skills during this tasty and snack-filled holiday program with our Paediatric Occupational Therapist and staff from the children’s team. Yum!

Snack Attack! This fun school holiday program will support teenagers to develop basic meal preparation skills for after school snacks. Students will practice preparing a smoothie, making a toasted sandwich and baking. This will help to develop their skills in:
  • cutting
  • using heated appliances
  • measuring
  • kneading and mixing
  • reading and following a recipe
  • skills in identifying fresh produce
Who: students with vision impairments 11–18 year olds (school aged)
When: Tuesday 22 January 2019
Time: 10am–3pm

Where: Arnold Cook House, Guide Dogs Victoria Kew Campus
Staffing: Occupational Therapist & staff from the Guide Dogs Victoria children’s team.
Costs: The program will be delivered at no direct cost to our clients due to the contributions of the Shine On Foundation. Where possible we will access fee for service funding (NDIS) to support the service delivery of OT, O&M and Orthoptist skills during the program. $145.55

For more information: call 1800 804 805 or
Booking: Please call Guide Dogs Victoria on 1800 804 805 to book your child's place in the ‘Snack Attack!’ program. Places are limited.

Freedom Scientific Paid Webinar Archives Are Now Free

Source: Garry Stinchcombe found this in last week's Flying Blind Newsletter

Freedom Scientific used to produce both paid and free training webinars. The materials in their archives which used to cost money now appear to be free:
Garry writes: I’ve used several of their free webinars in the past and found them very useful if not a little long winded! They include using JAWS with PowerPoint, Outlook, Word and Excel 365. Certainly worth a look!

Audio-Described Educational Movies: School Excursion Idea
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.

APH Apps

From Lea Nagel

Have you had a look at the great apps available through APH (American Printing House for the Blind)? If you search the App Store for American Printing House, you'll find some really lovely apps. Some are free, and you pay for others.
Slapstack Math (free) is a great fun app that can be played with up to 8 players using voice and finger gestures. It's a fun way to practice mental maths in a cooperative, fully accessible learning environment.

Draw2Measure Protractor (free) is a good way for children with regular or low vision to learn about measuring angles.

Talking Typer ($4.99) is now available as an app for iPad. Use it with a Bluetooth keyboard to practice touch typing! Check out SVRC's review of the iOS Talking Typer app.

Accessible Typing Program: Typio

From Phia Damsma via the SPEVI list

Typio is another accessible typing program for Windows. It has a built-in voice so doesn't rely on the use of a screen reader. There's a free 10-day trial demo download or purchase a single-user licence for $100 (may be US dollars).

More info and download:

The Association Between Braille Reading History and Well-being for Blind Adults


This article, written by Arielle Michal Silverman, Ph.D., and Edward C. Bell, Ph.D. reports on their study of 443 participants in a study conducted in 2012.
Abstract: This manuscript reports on the findings of a survey that was conducted to measure the association between braille reading skills and subjective well-being for legally blind adults. A total of 443 participants completed the survey, which included demographics, braille reading history, well-being measures, and employment. Data suggest that individuals who were primary braille readers since childhood had greater life-satisfaction, self-esteem, and job satisfaction than individuals who reported not using braille as their primary reading medium during childhood.

The data also suggest that individuals who became braille readers in adolescence or adulthood had higher life-satisfaction, self-esteem, and employment rates than those individuals who had never learned braille. Findings support the premise that braille literacy is key to life satisfaction and self-esteem in addition to academic and job success.

Ed: It is a really interesting article – have a read!

Next Round of Inclusive Education Scholarships

The second round of Inclusive Education Scholarships are now open to DET teachers!

Source: (DET login required)

On eduweb Sep 11, 2018

Scholarships available for teachers to build inclusive practice in their classrooms

Applications for the next round of scholarships under the Inclusive Education Grants initiative are now open.

Applications for the second round of inclusive education scholarships are now open.
These scholarships are an opportunity for teachers to build their capability to provide improved learning outcomes for all students, particularly those with disabilities or additional learning needs.

Who can apply …

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, including agreement to release the applicant for the practicum component of the selected course.
Courses available

Scholarships are available to support tuition fees and a contribution toward casual relief teaching costs associated with the practicum placement for the following courses:
  • Master of Specialist Inclusive Education (Deakin University)
  • Master of Education – Inclusive & Special Education (Monash University)
  • Master of Learning Intervention (University of Melbourne)
  • Master of Special and Inclusive Education (University of Newcastle)
  • Master of Disability Studies (RIDBC/Renwick Centre through Macquarie University)
The Victorian Institute of Teaching has endorsed the above courses for qualified teachers.

How to apply

Applications should be made online before Sunday 14 October 2018.

To apply, see: Inclusive Education Grants – Scholarships – Semester 1, 2019

For the application guidelines and more details on how to apply, see: Inclusive education grants initiative

Q&A: 3-D Printing

Question: A school wants to obtain a 3-D printer for creating 3-D models for their young braille reader and other members of the class. What would unit would you recommend?
Answer: We asked the folks from SensiLab at Monash University and here is what they had to say:

  • Zortrax M200
Used by MADA for printing with ABS plastic (more durable than PLA but requires higher temperatures and gives off toxic fumes) in an enclosed space.
Considered to be one of the easiest printers to plug & play, with consistent print quality and great customer support. A good workhorse printer for high volume printing with any filament.
Cost: $2000

  • ZYYX+
Recommended by Royal Dutch Visio as the adhesion to base is very good and a foot is not required.
1.75mm Filament type PLA, ABS, Flexible PLA, TPU, Nylon, PET, Laywood, Laybrick, T-glase.
Cost USD$2,285,00

Not recommended:
Any printers made in China which generally produce good quality prints and are much cheaper but safety levels may be of concern. 3-D printers that only allow use of their proprietary filament and units that require a high degree of mechanical and technical expertise to set up and maintain are not recommended for use in schools.

Question: What software would you recommend to create high quality 3-D models?
Answer: Again, we asked the folks from Monash University's SensiLab. The following software is being used to generate models for people with vision impairments at Monash University's SensiLab. Splicer software is also needed, but this comes with the 3-D printer.
  • TouchMapper braille can be added with OpenSCAD (free) – see purple map below left
  • TinkerCad (free) – see yellow blocks below centre
  • SketchUp (free or paid) – see map in relief below right
Hopefully, we'll have a printer at SVRC soon so we can put it through its paces!

Space Camp 2018

A famous astronaut once said, “Earth is a small town with many neighbours in a very big universe” and in true SVRC tradition a group of adventurous students will leave this Sunday for a voyage to Space Camp 2018.

This weekend students, Yuto, Konna, Kelly and their VT chaperones Hilary and Peter will be jetting off to Huntsville, Alabama in the USA to participate in the Space Camp program specially adapted for students with vision impairments. For one magic week each year students with vision challenges from all around the world descend on this tiny American town to celebrate diversity in learning and experience the magic of science. This is a powerful opportunity for our students to make new friends from all over the world and to participate in a simulated space experience. It is all about building leadership skills and functioning as part of a team. The boys will be responsible for navigating their learning for the week and will work as part of a team to undertake a simulated collaborative voyage to outer space.

It is an exciting time and we at SVRC are looking forward to hearing all about this exciting adventure upon their return.

Requests for Materials in Alternative Format for 2019

One industrious education support staff member has sent us the pdfs for 3 of the 6 main texts for a Year 11 student for 2019. That is practically unheard of in September of the year before!!! Congratulations to Sam for her efforts and her excellent support of her brailling student!

Can everyone else start bothering their schools for text books – and if possible, chapters and dates etc etc – and get them to us at the SVRC as soon as humanly possible. Can you please accompany the request with a filled-in request form???

Thanks in advance!!!!!


Spring has sprung! Enjoy the blossom!
– Deb Lewis (Ed)
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