'Representing the Deafblind Community in Victoria'

Deafblind World Workshop for City of Melbourne and Travellers Aid

On Wednesday 28th September 2022 Deafblind Victoria ran a Deafblind World workshop for City of Melbourne council and Travellers Aid after a long break for two years due to COVID. Three Deafblind presenters ran the workshop as a team along with six interpreters. There were six participants from Travellers  Aid and 10 from City of Melbourne.

DBV received great positive feedback from participants. Thank you to our Deafblind members Rodney Baskett and Sharon Sellick. Sharon travelled to Melbourne from Shepparton to present at the workshop. Also thank you Auslan interpreters for your wonderful teamwork!

Click for photos and testimonials

DeafBlind tips #9: Ross House lift

Ross House is in central Melbourne. Deafblind people come to Ross House for DBV Connect. It is popular place for get together, learning technology, peer support, communication skills, meeting Deafblind staff, and so on. You can see photos and a short video of Deafblind people coming to Ross House and finding our way to the right floor to visit the DBV office.

In 1999 Ablelink was set up in the same location. It was a deafblind technology and drop-in centre. We Deafblind people often got confused and lost when getting out of the lift to the wrong floors. A simple tip was created to make Ross House more accessible for the Deafblind community. How? There are stickers with embossed numbers and braille numbers on them. These tactile signs can be felt when the lift door opens and we check the numbers on each floor, outside the lift on both sides.

Click the video to watch Heather show the Braille stickers below.

The Rainbow Project, relationships and gender identity

What does “gender” mean in the Deafblind community? What kinds of relationships and sexual preferences do we have? How can we make sure that everyone is welcome and included?

At Deafblind Café on 19th Oct 2022, Sherrie Beaver from the Rainbow Project and DBV’s Michelle Stevens gave a presentation and led a discussion about LGBTQIA+ identities and gender diversity. Members were able to ask questions and share their experiences. Some talked about having friends, family and support workers who are LGBTQIA+, and how they have become an “ally” (supporter). Others felt safe enough to come out as queer, trans and non-binary themselves. One Deafblind participant said that this was the first time they had ever talked about these issues in the Deafblind community. A big thank you to Sherrie and to all who attended!

Click here for transcript of the PDF and photos from the event

DBV AGM & Xmas Celebration!

“Hello, its Michelle speaking. I would like to welcome you all to our combined AGM & Christmas celebration. This will be held at Richmond Rowing Club on Wednesday 30th Nov 12pm to 4pm. The AGM will run for one hour. We welcome you to join us! Maybe we will have a visit from Father Christmas?”

Peer training for Deafblind presenters

15th Oct, 2022 – Deafblind Victoria delivered a peer training session for Deafblind presenters. We are thrilled that members have the opportunity to improve their skills in running Deafblind World workshops. Well done, Heather Lawson, Jasper Cleland, Alison Rawson, Rodney Baskett, Joe Monteleone, Michelle Stevens and Alex Sar. We look forward to you presenting at Deafblind World workshops in future!

DBV Café – Charles Bonnet Syndrome Foundation

On Wednesday 21st September DBV held our monthly Cafe event with an AFL theme to celebrate the Grand Final weekend, held at Ross House in Melbourne CBD.

Guest speaker Scot Muirden from Charles Bonnet Syndrome Foundation came to give an interesting presentation on Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) – a condition that can affect people with vision-loss where they experience recurring visions. Thank you Scot for visiting DBV to raise awareness on CBS in the Deafblind community.

Fourteen DBV members and their supports all enjoyed the day.

A special congratulations goes to DBV members Michael D and Gina P for winning best dressed!

Thanks everyone. We look forward to seeing you all at next month’s DBV Café event.

Click for more photos

DBV visit Ceres Community Environment Park

DBV members socialise over lunch at Ceres centre

For September, DBV combined our Recreation Program with our Craft Day activity with a visit to Ceres Community Environment Park in Brunswick! Twelve of our DBV members along with their supports got to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather catching up with friends over a yummy lunch and exploring the grounds for exciting craft ideas on how to reuse, recycle, repurpose and rehome around the house more which is better for the environment.

We had a fun day and want to say thank you to everyone! We look forward to seeing you at the next Rec day in October.

Deafblind awareness for Auslan interpreters

On 6th Aug 2022, Deafblind Victoria and ASLIA Vic/Tas held a training day for Auslan interpreters. Deafblind presenters (Heather Lawson, Alex Sar, Michelle Stevens, Trudy Ryall and Jasper Cleland) and Auslan interpreter Dennis Whitcombe demonstrated a range of communication styles, including tactile Auslan, “chuchotage” or re-speaking, assisted listening devices and deafblind fingerspelling. Participants learned techniques for effective communication with deafblind clients. The workshop was delivered in a hybrid format with both on-site and online participation. We are looking forward to working with more interpreters who have skills in deafblind communication! Thank you ASLIA Vic/Tas for arranging interpreters, venue, delicious food and all the technology for the live stream.

Click for photos

Deafblind Café – public transport accessibility reforms

At Deafblind Café on 20th July 2022, we talked about public transport and celebrated Christmas in July.

Maddie Chandler talks with Michelle Stevens about train access

The federal government plans to change the Disability Transport Standards. Maddie Chandler visited DBV from Canberra to find out more about Deafblind Victorians’ experiences with trains, trams, buses and taxis, so the government can make better rules about accessibility.

DBV members talked about problems we have with transport:

  • We memorise routes (how many stops, how to get from the platform to the exit, etc.) It’s difficult when things change
  • Announcements are not audible, signs are not visible, and asking for help is difficult with communication barriers
  • Staff can be unhelpful and hostile, and rules are inconsistent
  • Passengers rush in at stops before we can get off
  • Gaps, uneven platforms

And possible solutions:

  • Travel training for Deafblind people; learning the layout of stations
  • Deafblind Awareness training for transport staff
  • Signs with black backgrounds, and lower or closer to the ground
  • In Singapore and Japan, there are designated zones around train doors that passengers must stand behind, and glass doors to prevent tripping at the edge of the platform
  • Braille and tactile information at train stations

For more information about the Transport Standards, including how you can have your say about the changes, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/transportaccessibility.

We celebrated Christmas in July with a Secret Santa and a prize for best festive hat, won by Jasper Cleland.

Click for photo gallery

DeafBlind tips #8: rubbish bins with shoe laces by Heather Lawson

I live in a nice unit shared with other 4 units on the same property. Every Monday evening I take my wheeled rubbish bins to the front nature strip for the early morning  smelly rubbish to be picked up by the garbage truck collectors. You know Garbage men do not care to put the bins back in the  same spots on the nature strip. The bins become mixed around and  I can not read the bins printed numbers. How can I find the bin that belongs to me? Well, here is a simple hint. I cut an old shoe lace into two then tie it to the handles of the green rubbish bin and yellow recycle bin.  This helps me find which bins are mine and I can drag them back.

Hey I wonder if Oscar the Grouch is grumpy and nagging if I tied shoe lace on the handles of his bin??