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Inside This Issue

Here's what you'll find:
  • From SVRC: Dates for Your Diary, Teachers Needed for Support Skills Program, 2018 Braille Calendar Available from SVRC, Q&A: Scientific Calculators, Q&A: Duxbury & Romeo Embosser, Student News
  • Mathematics Online Interview (2018) Available in Braille from SVRC
  • Technology: Equipment Grants 2018
  • PD: PD at SVRC, Tying Shoelaces, Haptic Apprehension and Tactile Skills (NSW)
  • Recreation and Activities: Calendar of Upcoming Activities for Kids, How to Braille Your UNO Cards, 2018 Focus on Ability Film Festival, Coles Sports for Schools
  • From the Field: Radio Interview: Gillian Gale, What are the Barriers That Result from Blindness?, Seeking Aspiring Actors with VI
Check updated The Bulletin archive for back issues!

Dates for Your Diary – 2018

Here is a list of our planned PD for next year.
  • New (and newish) VT Day: 19 February
  • Educational Support for Students who have Low Vision: 27 Feb OR 6 March OR 14 August
  • PE PD Day: 14 March
  • Educational Support for Students with VI & Additional Impairments: Thursday 22 March
  • Braille Music (half day) 24 April
  • Art4Kids with VI: 2 May
  • Dot Power Term 2: Tuesday 8 May
  • VT Master Class: 12 June [please note change of date]
  • Dot Power Term 3: Tuesday 7 August
  • Dot Power Term 4: Tuesday 30 October
  • Technology Expo: 27 November
  • Christmas Morning Tea: Wednesday 5 December
Programs and registration are available on the SVRC website! Online payment is also available!

VT Master Class: Change of Date

Please note that the VT Master Class will now be held on 12th June. It will now be the day after the Queen's Birthday holiday which may assist VTs who are coming in from rural/remote locations. Further details to follow.

Teachers Needed for Support Skills Program

There are some teachers on leave from our Support Skills Program this year, and we are finding it increasingly difficult to source teachers with skills in the expanded core curriculum subject areas that we cover (especially assistive technology).
If any Visiting Teachers, who are part-time and free on Fridays, would like to be CRTs on the program, please be in touch. We would love to have a larger list of candidates to call upon – and it really is great fun!!!

Please contact Garry (SSP Coordinator) or Marion:
stinchcombe.garry.g@edumail.vic.gov.au or blaze.marion.g@edumail.vic.gov.au

Mathematics Online Interview Available in Braille

With thanks to a very helpful Visiting Teacher, we now have the print copy of the Mathematics Online Interview here at the SVRC! Hopefully it will be available in braille sometime next week!

Please use the request form and you'll have an updated copy in the mail on the same day!

2018 Braille Calendar Available from SVRC

If you haven't collected a 2018 for your braille-readers as yet, please send in a request form! This year's Calendar features punctuation at the bottom of each page – for example, a tactile print comma, the word comma and the braille for a comma.

Equipment Grants 2018

Equipment grants close on 28 February 2018. Equipment Grants are available to assist Victorian government schools to purchase essential, specialised equipment for students with vision impairments who do not meet the eligibility requirements of the Program for Students with Disabilities.
Further, Marion Blazé suggests that for efficiency and best outcomes from the Equipment Grants process please:
  • fill in the front sheet fully including a dot point list of the equipment
  • include a recent (
  • include a quote for each piece of equipment (e.g. for iPad go to the Apple website and print out a quote including iPad and keyboard) - don't get a super cheap run-out quote as we may not be able to get that price by the time of purchase
  • write a brief report describing why the equipment is essential for the student's access to curriculum and how the Visiting Teacher will be training the student in its use
  • make sure the application is signed by the Principal
  • scan the documents together with the front sheet at the beginning – one scan per student
The Equipment Grants Guidelines booklet is available on the DET website: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/school/principals/health/equipgrantsguide.docx
The form can also be found on the DET website: http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/school/principals/health/equipgrantsform.docx

Gillian Gale, AM: Radio Interview

Source: VIP-L list.
In Program 540 of New Horizons (Blind Citizens Australia's weekly radio program), Gillian Gale, who was recognised in this year's Australia Day Honours list, is interviewed. Gillian has worked tirelessly over the last forty plus years on improving access to education for students who are blind or have vision impaired children across Australia. Hear the first of a two-part conversation with Gillian about her life and career.

The direct link to listen is http://bca.org.au/attachments/new-horizons/nh-0540.m3u, to download is http://bca.org.au/attachments/new-horizons/New-Horizons-20180205-Ep540.mp3 and to receive the program each week as a podcast, go to http://bca.org.au/feed

What are the Barriers That Result from Blindness?

Source: https://mosen.org/retina2018/
Address delivered to the 20th Retina International World Congress on 11 February 2018 by Jonathan Mosen

Most people consider blindness to be a significant disability. Some surveys have shown that people fear blindness even more than cancer and AIDS, both conditions which can be fatal. But it’s true what they say, forcing oneself to quantify and articulate a problem is often the best way to break it down and put it in perspective.

In my view, there are two fundamental barriers that can make blindness problematic. That may surprise you. You might be thinking of a dozen things right off the top of your head that are frustrating about blindness, ranging from not being able to drive a car, to identifying the baked beans from the peaches. But I contend that those are symptoms of the two barriers of blindness.

One is the information barrier. Blindness is fundamentally an information disability. I use the term “information” broadly. Information can be the printed word, data that helps you determine who someone is or where something is located, anything at all that tells you about the world around you. Sight is such a dominant sense. You can process a lot of information quickly with sight. Most people have it, and naturally, they become highly dependent on it. So, our society has been structured to cater to the vast, sight-dependent majority. After all, if the can of baked beans had a button on it that spoke the name of the product, or for that matter a Braille label, blindness would pose no barrier to my identifying it ...

That leads me to the second barrier of blindness, attitude. Some people who are highly sight dependent find it difficult to imagine how someone deprived of sight, either since birth or later in life, can possibly function. Discrimination doesn’t have to be malicious for it to be discrimination. We know that people have been oppressed and wars fought over people thinking that because someone’s skin is a different colour, or their belief system is different from theirs, they are inferior. Humans often fear what is beyond their personal realm of experience ...

To read the whole article, visit the link above.

Q&A: Scientific Calculators

Question: I am just wondering if you are aware of any good scientific calculator apps for the iPad that a student in upper primary/early secondary could try?
Answer: It's a good idea to check the app store regularly. New apps are being developed all the time and many of them are great. It's best for the student to try the apps out themselves to find out whether they match their visual, audio and mathematical needs.

When students need a more sophisticated app, Texas Instruments would be a place to look, but check with the maths department of your school first. TI have a software emulator that exactly matches the calculators that many schools use in upper secondary.

We've been trying to encourage Texas Instruments to tweak their emulator software so that it works with JAWS. JAWS can already announce many functions, so this shouldn't be a difficult task... TI support staff have said that if enough people request accessibility they will work on it.

If VTs, parents or students are interested in a project, perhaps they could email Texas Instruments tech help, found on this page: https://education.ti.com/en-au/products/computer-software/ti-nspire-cx-cas-student-sw

Q&As: Duxbury and Romeo Embosser

Question: How do I install Duxbury and the Romeo Embosser to my computer?
Answer: Please follow this link or see attached documents in the PDF edition of this issue. Your IT person at the school should be able to install the Duxbury software. The embosser should be treated as if it is a printer. If you are still having problems, please contact Trevor Boyd at Quantum RLV. Trevor would need the admin password or to work with the IT person at the school.
Phone: 03 9545 4100 (Trevor Boyd)
Email: vic@quantumrlv.com.au

How to Braille Your UNO Cards

Source: Paths to Literacy website

For the traditional UNO card game, use these abbreviations:
red = r
yellow = y
blue = b
green = g

For example, a "Red 2" card would be: r 2 (with the braille number sign before the 2, of course)

Wild = wild [just spell out the word]
Draw 4 = +4
Draw 2 = (colour) +2 [e.g. a "Yellow Draw 2" card would be: y +2]
Reverse = (colour) rev [e.g. a "Blue Reverse" card would be: b rev]

Braille both top and bottom of the cards so that regardless of which way you have the cards, the braille will read correctly at the top of the card just as the print does.

HAPPY BRAILLE UNO!

Tying Shoelaces – Try This!

As suggested by a Visiting Teacher (VI) in the USA on FaceBook:
Tie two laces with a knot at one end. One lace is round, and the other lace is flat – or try to find laces that have different textures (e.g. sparkly).

Make a "thigh tie" – start by sitting the student in a chair with the knot under one thigh.
Practice tying the bow across the thigh just above the knee and keep it there until the student is confident.

Move the tie in front of the knee (which will change its angle).

When the student is confident, move the tie down to mid calf; then above the ankle and finally on the shoe. This strategy is very helpful because while the child is learning to tie the shoe their knee is not in the way and they don’t have to work around their own leg.

Cross the laces over (one goes under the other).

Start by asking the student where the laces come out of the knot. Then have the student move their finger up one lace about the width if three fingers making a short loop. Make sure the student grasps this loop as close to the knot as possible. The second lace is also held about three finger widths from the knot, and is pulled firmly around the thumb and base if the loop. If held firmly, students should be able to tell when they have made it around their thumb, and then pull the same place down between the thumb tip and the pointer finger that is holding the knot.

The pointer finger and the thumb can then pinch this lace as they push it back through the loop which was made when the lace went over the thumb.

Find the lace that is sneaking through the loop. This is the top of the second bow.
Finally, let go of the first loop and find its top befitting pulling.

Calendar of Upcoming Activities for Kids

In a recent calendar of events provided by the Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria, several upcoming activities look suitable for student with vision impairments.
Junior Blind Tennis
2/3/18
5.30pm – 6.30pm
Melbourne Park Indoor Tennis Courts
Junior Blind Tennis
16/3/18
5.30pm – 6.30pm
Melbourne Park Indoor Tennis Courts
Junior Swimming Program
4/3/18
TBC upon enrolment
Kew
Junior Swimming Program
11/3/18
TBC upon enrolment
Kew
Junior Swimming Program
18/3/18
TBC upon enrolment
Kew
Junior Swimming Program
25/3/18
TBC upon enrolment
Kew
Goalball, Give a Go!! Come & Try Day
24/03/18
TBC
Junior Health Centre, Scotch College Hawthorn
Goalball - Autumn League Week 1
14/04/18
14 and under (Juniors)
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
15 and over (Seniors)
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Junior Health Centre, Scotch College Hawthorn
Goalball - Autumn League Week 2
21/04/18
14 and under (Juniors)
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
15 and over (Seniors)
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Junior Health Centre, Scotch College Hawthorn
Goalball - Autumn League Week 3
28/04/18
14 and under (Juniors)
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
15 and over (Seniors)
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Junior Health Centre, Scotch College Hawthorn
Junior Swimming Program
15/4/18
TBC upon enrolment
Kew
Junior Swimming Program
22/4/18
TBC upon enrolment
Kew
Junior Swimming Program
29/4//18
TBC upon enrolment
Kew
Blind Football (soccer) Club Training
- Adult B1, B2, B3;
junior session
13/5/18
12.30pm - 3.30pm
North Melbourne Recreation Centre
Blind Football (soccer) Club Training
- Adult B1, B2, B3;
junior session
27/5/18
12.30pm - 3.30pm
North Melbourne Recreation Centre
Goalball - Autumn League Week 4
12/05/18
14 and under (Juniors)
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
15 and over (Seniors)
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Junior Health Centre, Scotch College Hawthorn
Goalball - Autumn League Week 5
19/05/18
14 and under (Juniors)
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
15 and over (Seniors)
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Junior Health Centre, Scotch College Hawthorn
Goalball - Autumn League Week 6
26/05/18
14 and under (Juniors)
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
15 and over (Seniors)
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Junior Health Centre, Scotch College Hawthorn
Junior Swimming Program
6/5/18
TBC upon enrolment
Kew
Junior Swimming Program
13/5/18
TBC upon enrolment
Kew
Junior Swimming Program
20/5/18
TBC upon enrolment
Kew
(Continued from previous page)
Junior Swimming Program
27/5/18
TBC upon enrolment
Kew
Goalball - Autumn League Week 7
02/06/18
14 and under (Juniors)
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
15 and over (Seniors)
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Junior Health Centre, Scotch College Hawthorn
Goalball - Autumn League Week 8
16/06/18
14 and under (Juniors)
9:30 AM – 11:00 AM
15 and over (Seniors)
11:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Junior Health Centre, Scotch College Hawthorn
For further information about these programs, please contact BSRV office on 9822 8876 or email info@blindsports.org.au

Seeking Aspiring Actors with VI


The Australia Film, Television and Radio School is seeking two actors with vision impairments.

The AFTRS are looking for two females with vision impairments to act in a short, student-made film. Filming will take place in New South Wales, and although, being a student film, actors will not be paid, some support will be provided for flights and accommodation.

They are searching for girls, 10 to 12 years and women aged 35 to 60 years, who have a significant vision impairment (low vision or blindness), for a fairy tale called "Sweet Tooth".

Actors should have strong performance skills (no acting experience necessary)
Contact SVRC if you are interested and we can send you more information: blaze.marion.g@edumail.vic.gov.au

6 Weeks of Sport for VI in Term 2

Who: Students with VI from 13 to 18 years
What: One new activity to try each week for 6 weeks including goalball, soccer, tandem cycling, tennis and more!
No experience necessary!
To express your interest: email janelle@blindsports.org.au

Haptic Apprehension and Tactile Skills

When: Wednesday 28 February
Time: 9.00am – 4.00pm
Where: RIDBC, NSW
Presenter: Vassillios Argyropoulous

This is a one day course designed for teachers and other professionals supporting students who are visually impaired or blind. It is intended to provide the participants with the theoretical knowledge regarding the critical role of haptic perception in the education of students with blindness as well as the significance of the development of tactile skills. Examples of implementations will be provided in geometry, geography, daily living activities, mobility and braille. This course would address the needs of professionals who are involved in the education of children who are blind or visually impaired.

The course will be delivered as a one-day workshop at RIDBC Renwick Centre engaging in presentations and practical activities.
For further information email: mailcpe@ridbc.org.au

2018 Focus on Ability Film Festival

From: www.focusonability.com.au

The 2018 Focus on Ability Film Festival is now open for applications. Entrants create a short film or documentary that is less than 5 minutes long with an ability/disability theme.

Visit the website above to watch all of our 210 documentaries and films from the 2017 festival.

Submit by: 1 June 2018
For more info please contact Ryan Goodwin: ryan@focusonability.com or (02) 8886 5606.

Coles Sports for Schools

Coles Sports for Schools is back to help Aussie kids stay fit and healthy and SVRC students can benefit too! Whenever you shop at Coles, please say "Yes" to receive the vouchers and then send them to SVRC (PO Box 201 Nunawading 3131). For every $10 spent at Coles, you will receive one Sports for Schools voucher. The more we collect, the more sports equipment we will be eligible to receive. One Mum told me when she said she was collecting for her son at the "special school", they gave her lots and lots of vouchers!!

Thank you for your support.

Student News

Thirteen-year-old Luke (Support Skills Group E) took part in the annual water-ski race held on the Murray River in Victoria/NSW. The Southern 80 is considered to be a very challenging event, with thousands of spectators and around 900 competitors each year.
A keen water skier, Luke has attended the Southern 80 with his family for many years, and has always wanted "to give it a go". This year Luke competed in the 20 km course!
Luke is photographed (right) in front of the speed boat, "Floor-It!".

Finally

Hoping everyone has had a great beginning to 2018!
Deb Lewis (Ed)
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