'Representing the Deafblind Community in Victoria'

Deafblind Awareness month 2022

This year for Deafblind Awareness month there were a number of activities at DBV:

At the event on June 15, there was a presentation by DBV’s Alex Sar about his experience coming to our group, building his skills and confidence, and joining the management committee. Claire Fraser from Able Australia ran an art activity with DBV’s Robert Lokmer taking photos. Claire will join the artwork made with others from around the country and display it at the Deafblind conference in Perth at the end of the month.

The highlight of the event was celebrating with SEDB, a Deafblind community group in South India who joined us via a video call from Bangalore. There were lots of questions from each group to the other, and we really felt like we had found kindred spirits in another part of the world.

Issues such as a shortage of interpreters were common to both groups. At DBV we felt sorry for the interpreters in Bangalore who were working simultaneously with two deafblind people, using (one-handed) tactile sign language, and continuing without a break! They were very interested in our interpreting tables and want to know how they can make their own. We look forward to staying in touch and collaborating in future.

Click for photos and videos

LendLease – Deafblind World

On the 25th of May, staff from Lendlease attended a Deafblind World workshop. LendLease is a construction company involved in the Metro tunnel project near Ross House, where DBV is located. Steven Weir from LendLease arranged for some of their staff to come and learn about deafblind accessibility in building design, and when projects are under construction. He said the LendLease team found the workshop brilliant and “full of great ways we can improve our places and spaces to help to provide a better experience for those who are DeafBlind”. Thanks Steven! We really appreciate you taking the time to work with us.

Click for photo gallery

Deafblind mental health

Deafblind Victoria held a mental health event on 18th May 2022 that was attended by 14 Deafblind Victorians, and supported by 12 interpreters, 2 commguides, 2 DBV support staff, one Auslan student on work placement and one volunteer.

Trudy Ryall, a deafblind person who has experienced mental ill health, introduced the event, acknowledging the $1000 grant from the Deaf Mental Health trust fund (Ben Souter) that helped fund it. Many DBV members knew Ben and we think he would be proud to see our community coming together to look after deafblind mental health in his name. 

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ABC TV report: interpreter and commguide shortage

Last night, ABC TV news reported on the national shortage of Auslan interpreters and commguides. Heather Lawson was featured. DBV is glad that this issue is getting some coverage in the media. The Deafblind community in Victoria is really struggling at the moment, with very limited access to commguides. The situation has gotten worse over the last couple of years. Thanks to Meredith Bartlett and all who stepped in to support Heather’s access to this event, where the Victorian government announced funding for Auslan training. Gayle Tierney, the Victorian training minister, said that Victoria will add Auslan to the list of free TAFE courses. This is great news! See the 2 minute news segment, with a transcript below.

ABC TV News, Victoria, 16.5.2022
Click for transcript

Craft group – card making and beanie making

Kathy and Rodney learn to make beanies

On Wednesday 13th of April, DBV had our monthly craft activity day. DBV members Debbie and Kathy taught the group how to make beautiful art cards.

We also had art therapist Kim visiting from Camberwell Community Centre to show the group how to knit their own beanies.

Enjoy the gallery of photos below. We look forward to seeing you all at the next DBV craft day on May 11th when DBV visit ArtVo.

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Recreation program – Luna Park

DBV members on the roller coaster at Luna Park

On Saturday the 26th of March, DBV members went for an exciting trip to Luna Park. It was a great day. Thanks Alex for coordinating the activity, and to all support people for helping make it a great day.

Enjoy the gallery of pics below. Photos taken by DBV member Robert. We hope to see you at the next DBV recreation activity! Check the what’s on page for updates.

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Tactile maps research

Leona and Ruth from Monash University testing 3D printed building models with Heather Lawson & interpreters

Researchers from Monash University are testing 3D printed models with blind and deafblind people. These models show the layout of rooms in a building, including the location of walls, stairs, toilets, shops and more. They can show different floors of the same building. The researchers, Ruth and Leona, visited DBV yesterday to test the models with DBV members. We think it’s a great idea and we hope to see tactile models of buildings in future! It might help us find our way around independently.

For more information on the study and to register your interest, please visit: https://forms.gle/fFvvUFRcztUJa7cE9.  

Contact Ruth.Nagassa@monash.edu if you have any questions.

Craft group – Southbank and National Gallery

DBV members Richard and Debbie with communication guides, engaging with Aboriginal art at NGV.

On the 9th of March, 13 Deafblind Victoria members attended our monthly craft group activity.

We took a trip to Southbank for lunch, followed by a trip to the National Gallery of Victoria to explore their Exhibition called “Marking Time: Indigenous Art”.

Enjoy the photos taken by DBV members on the day.

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