Inside This Rather Sporty Issue

Here's what you'll find:
  • From SVRC: Dates for Your Diary, Teachers Needed for Support Skills Program, Q&A Alternatives to Online Maths and English, Make Your Own Tactual Globe, Support Skills Art News, Freebies and Loaners from SVRC, Updated SVRC Catalogues Now Online
  • Technology: VCAA On Demand Testing Assistance, A3 Adjustable Slope Board
  • PD: Learning Difficulties/Dyslexia being offered by DET
  • Recreation and Activities: Festival of Live Art 2018 Audio Described Journey, Description Victoria Survey, Coles Sports for Schools, Opportunities for Multiclass Athletes 2018, 6 Weeks of Sport for VI in Term 2, Swimming and Tennis Opportunities
  • From the Field: Gillian Gale interview (correct link), Braille in the Community, Staff News – Nola Retiring! :(
Check updated The Bulletin archive for back issues!

Dates for Your Diary – 2018

Here is a list of our planned PD:
  • 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
  • Educational Support for Students who have Low Vision: 14 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!

If you can't find the PD you need, please contact Lea Nagel or Marion Blazé to request a session.

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: or

PD: Learning Difficulties/Dyslexia

Newly developed workshops are running to focus on implementing appropriate interventions and whole-of-school approaches to high-quality differentiated practice.
Interactive and case-study based, the different skills and approaches covered in each workshop address the recommendations of the Program for Students with Disabilities Review to increase best practice support for schools to meet the specific needs of students with learning difficulties such as Dyslexia.

This training forms part of the Department's inclusive education agenda, which is giving schools extra advice, resources and expertise to create inclusive school environments for students with disabilities and additional needs. To find out more about the program, see: Inclusive Education for Students with Disabilities

The Learning Difficulties including Dyslexia professional learning program will be provided throughout 2018.

Thanks Geoff Bowen for this info!

VCAA On Demand Testing Assistance for Students with VI

On Demand Testing is an online resource for teachers to use when, where and how they choose. Tests are designed to link to curriculum and standards. It is a time-saving tool that can be administered to a single student and/or a whole class.

If you have questions or would like support regarding the use of this tool with students with vision impairments please contact the On Demand Help Desk (Freecall 1800 827 721) or Project Manager, Frances O'Mara Tel: 9225 2369 or email: o'

For further information visit:

Gillian Gale, AM: Radio Interview

Readers have indicated that the link to the Gillian Gale interview on BCA didn't work.

Sorry for the inconvenience and please try this link:

Gillian Gale was recognised in this year's Australia Day Honours list.

Festival of Live Art 2018 Audio Described Journey

The Festival of Live Art is Australia’s largest festival of live art celebrating contemporary, experimental, interactive and participatory artworks. Description Victoria are putting together an audio described journey through five interactive experiences from 4pm on Friday March 23, all of which are primarily tactile or sound based. You can sew your own onesie, get your tingles triggered, sort out memories, fix climate change, and take it all apart in one night.

Two of the experiences are free, and three are ticketed. Arts House have kindly offered an all-in-one ticket that will get you in to the three ticketed events at a discounted price of $45.

The works are:
  • Stone Tape Theory by SJ Norman
  • Wowzzzeee by Adele Varcoe
  • TLSQ x ASMR by The Letter String Quartet
  • Worktable by Kate McIntosh, and
  • Kill Climate Deniers by David Finnegan and Ruben Ingall
When: Friday March 23, 4pm until 10pm
Where: Arts House, 521 Queensberry Street North Melbourne
How much? $45, companion card available.
To book: Click call the box office on 03 9322 3720

More info:

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.

Opportunities for Multiclass Athletes: SSV Multiclass Program 2018

School Sport Victoria (SSV) Multi Class Athlete program addresses the needs of students with a disability in Victorian schools. Through this program SSV will:
  • Engage with schools to encourage participation of Multi Class athletes at division / district level competitions
  • Provide advice and support to schools to ensure all Multi Class athletes have access to current participation initiatives
  • Identify SSV competitions that support participation from Multi Class athletes and identify gaps
  • Work with State Sporting Organisations (SSOs) and key sporting bodies to develop new Multi Class athlete events and competitions
  • Assist SSOs involved in the Multi Class athlete Sporting Program to provide links to clubs for participants
  • Create partnerships with SSOs, local clubs, leagues and associations that provide support to Multi Class athlete programs
  • Engage with the tertiary sector to ensure PE undergraduates from universities have the opportunity to participate at events for Multi Class athletes (including SSV events, endorsed Special School events and SSA school events) to build the capacity of teachers
School Sport Victoria is looking to increase participants at the three major Multiclass events – Swimming, Cross Country and Track & Field – this year. Please help share the information in our community.

See the list of dates and activities attached or visit the SSV website:

6 Weeks of Sport for VI in Term 2

Who: Students with VI from 13 to 17 years
What: One new activity to try each week for 6 weeks including goalball, soccer, tandem cycling, tennis and more!

No experience necessary! See attached flier (PDF only)

To express your interest: email

Swimming and Tennis Opportunities

Source: Blind Sports and Recreation Victoria Facebook Page
Swimming: Is your child confident in and around the water? LIMITED places have become available in our swimming program for blind and vision impaired tots and children. Experienced and qualified instructors, one to one lessons, a safe and secure environment (we are the only ones in the entire pool complex) at a very reasonable price. This is a long running program of the highest quality and places fill fast. Email for further information.

Tennis: Due to popular demand, Blind Junior Tennis is being extended to Term 2. If you would like your child to begin some private tennis lessons in a safe and welcoming environment email for more information.

Q&A: Alternatives to Online Maths and English Learning

Question: Is there an alternative to Mathletics and Reading Eggs for young students who are blind?


One alternative option is a program from American Print House for the Blind called Math Flash. Take a look here for more information

Reading Eggs

There really is no "online" option so here are a couple of alternatives to consider:
  • Have your student listen to an electronic version of an Ozzie Dots book on, for example, their Victor Reader, whilst they read along in braille with their fingers.
  • We have a large selection of books in etext (e.g. .doc and .docx files) which students can listen to on their Victor Reader or similar. Listening to high interest picture story books will assist with audio listening skills and will offer a range of vocabulary, rhyme, rhythm, concepts and enjoyment. Perhaps the teacher can set some simple comprehension questions either as a text file, or an audio note that the student can listen to.
NB: If your title of choice is not available, you can place a request for production in alternative format.

Support Skills News: Art

During late 2017 Specialist Art Teacher Michael Donnelly invited students to make part of a new customised Support Skills Program chess set from clay.
As inspiration, students were shown examples of chess sets and a tactile chessboard. Students used terracotta clay to create unique and individual chess pieces.
Tools used included a knife and fork. Other modelling tools were placed on the wooden clay board with some of chess pieces at the side for reference along with a damp sponge to wipe fingers.

Following construction, a deep finger hole was pushed into the base of the piece to assist with drying and firing.

Once the claywork was dried out, it was fired in the Donvale PS Art Room kiln. A partial glaze – dark or light – was used to complete the effect.

Support Skills students have played several games of chess with the new pieces. Sam and Sarah must have been "playing for sheep stations" as their game was very intense!
Next time you visit, check out the tactile board and beautiful chess pieces, some of which are shown in photos on this page.

Guide Dogs Children's Services Announce 2018 Camps

Source: Guide Dogs Victoria - Children's Mobility Service team

The Children’s Mobility Service is excited to offer a range of camps and group programs during 2018. Our group programs aim to offer Orientation and Mobility training in a dynamic group setting which also provides children with vision loss and their families’ opportunities to socially engage with their peers.

To assist families who are on NDIS and for those who will soon be on NDIS, pricing has been included based on February 2018 prices. Please note that there is no cost to attend for those students who do yet have an NDIS plan.If you would like to discuss any aspects of our planned camp program please contact our customer service team on 1800 804 805.

All camp programs will provide students with the opportunity to develop a range of Orientation and Mobility skills and practice these skills in a variety of different environments considerate of their age and skill ability.

Junior Camps: three day Orientation and Mobility camps for primary school students with low vision or blindness based onsite at Guide Dogs Victoria in Kew.

· April 3rd- 5TH: More details of this camp can be found in the next section of this newsletter. NDIS Cost estimate: $850.
· July 2nd- 4th: Details of this camp will be in our next (Term 2) newsletter. NDIS Cost estimate: $850.

Senior Camp September 24th – 27th: A four-day Orientation and Mobility camp for secondary school students with low vision or blindness. Details of this camp will be in our newsletters closer to the dates. NDIS Cost estimate: $1210.

Supercharge Primary Camp & Supercharge Secondary Camp: Both of these two-day programs will help students with further developing their understanding of
· their body in space,
· road and traffic concepts,
· self-orientation strategies
· use of sensory information to draw meaningful conclusions about their environment.

This program is a great opportunity for students who are blind or who have very low vision to learn in an environment that facilitates exploration of ideas and skills unique to a traveler who is blind. Students can also work with our Occupational Therapists during the program, to continue to develop daily living skills including individual pre-determined goals. Students may choose to work on self-care, meal preparation, money identification or organisational skills depending on their goals and interests. Please contact our customer service team on 1800 804 805 to register your interest to attend these programs and discuss if you child is suitable to attend. NDIS cost estimate: $545.

Early childhood O&M mornings: Suitable for parents with children aged 0-6 years. Come and learn more about what Orientation and Mobility is by joining in with fun O&M based activities. Find out how you can support your child’s skill development during every day activities alongside more formal O&M training. Programs will occur once a term and will provide you with the opportunity to meet other parents and their children who have a vision impairment. Please contact our customer service team on 1800 804 805 to register your interest to attend these programs and you will be contacted with dates and details. NDIS Cost estimate: $45 per session or $180 for all four sessions.

Braille in the Community!!!

The following rather excited story appeared on the Teachers of the Blind and Visually Impaired/O&M Specialists Facebook page. It's from an educator who was dealing with a government agency in the USA:

"... Eventually male human comes on the line and I explain who I am and what I need. Male human asks for SS# and I read it and hear a PERKINS BRAILLER writing it down! I say, "You're using a Perkins brailler?" He says, "You know what one is by the sound?" I explain my background and say I'm surprised he isn't using a screen reading program.

He assures me he is, but he uses his PERKINS as his SCRATCH PAD. When he needed to take down my mailing address I heard the Perkins again, complete with ding! Yes doubting boys and girls – braille is not going to be obsolete and there are reasons grown-ups use Perkins braillers!"

Freebies/Loaners from SVRC

  • We have several boxes of used braille paper that you can take away for free! Kindergartens and primary schools can use the "bumpy paper" for drawing and other creative pursuits. Come in and talk to staff in the Production Department.
  • The tandem bicycle is currently cluttering up our foyer – if there is anyone who would like to borrow the tandem for student use at home or at school, please contact Marion Blazé. The tandem should be collected and returned by the school. It is available for loan for up to 2 terms.

SVRC Staff News

Following a long career supporting blind students at Vision Australia School (then RVIB), Fairhills High School and more recently at the Statewide Vision Resource Centre, Nola Houghton is retiring at the end of term 1. She plans to walk in the mountains and valleys and enjoy the wonderful outdoors. We will miss her skills, knowledge, ability to braille with speed and accuracy, and her calm and kind nature. We wish her the very best for a peaceful future.

Website News: Updated Catalogues Are Available

By the time you receive this issue of The Bulletin, the all-new-and-up-to-date catalogue page will be live. One database lists the "Readers" by Reading Recovery Level and the second database lists primary and secondary fiction and non-fiction from picture story books to novels. We hope you enjoy the new catalogues – please send comments to Deb Lewis if you'd like to suggest improvements.


News and gossip? Please share!
Deb Lewis (Ed)
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