'Representing the Deafblind Community in Victoria'

Posts from the ‘DBV Connect’ category

Peer training at DBV

When we lose hearing and vision, there are a lot of things that change for us. We might need to learn to use magnifiers, braille, tactile Auslan, or a white cane. At Deafblind Victoria, deafblind people support each other through these changes. This is called “peer support”. Some of us have already lost vision and hearing, and have adapted to our new life. We love to welcome people into our wonderful Deafblind community and share the skills we have learned living as Deafblind people. This happens informally at DBV social events and the drop-in program at DBV Connect on Thursdays. Both are free for any deafblind person to attend. You can also find handy tips on our website.

Deafblind Victoria now also offers specialist one-to-one peer training in tactile Auslan, Deafblind communication, braille and technology, which can be charged to your NDIS. Contact DBV to arrange a session. If you are a professional and want to work with a peer trainer to get the best outcomes for your client, please also get in touch!

See photos below of deafblind people learning tactile Auslan and braille from deafblind trainers.

Deafblind Tips 11 – reflective tape

Hi! I’m Andrew. I sometimes have trouble finding my hearing aids case. I can’t remember if I left it in the lounge room, my bedroom or the kitchen. The case is black and hard to see.

I went to Bunnings to buy some reflective safety tape. I cut the tape into the shape of my hearing aids case but it wouldn’t stick, so I used some glue to stick it on. You can see it in the video below.

Now I can use a torch to look for my hearing aids case. The shiny tape makes it flash brightly. Without the tape, it’s really too hard to find at night! I kept losing it. So this idea is great. You just need reflective tape, scissors to cut it into the right shape, and glue. Superglue is best to make sure it stays on strongly.

– Andrew Howard

DBV Connect is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Go to www.dss.gov.au for more information.  

Deafblind tips 10 – Public Transport number signs

Deafblind Victoria member Andrew Howard has a great tip for Deafblind commuters catching Public Transport such the bus or tram, and he made a video in Auslan below.

Andrew says: “Hello. My name is Andrew Howard. I will talk about Public Transport number signs for catching buses and trams. There are two colours: black/yellow and black/white. You can use these when hailing the bus. [Andrew holds up 3 black/yellow number signs that spell 624]

You can insert different numbers into the clear pockets. [Andrew holds up 3 black/white number signs that spell 624]

You can use these number signs here in Australia, or overseas too. You can swap out the numbers for whichever you like, to catch buses and trams. Usually there are 2 or 3 numbers, but sometimes they add a letter, like X. They’re great!”

Heather Lawson adds: “When I went to Seattle in America, I noticed they use these number signs to catch the bus. Black/yellow numbers mean the commuter is Deafblind, and the bus driver knows to get out of the bus and help guide the commuter onto the bus. Black/white numbers mean that the commuter is hearing-blind, so the bus driver will call out to them to board the bus.”

DBV Connect is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Go to www.dss.gov.au for more information.  

Member story – Jeanette’s cat Bobyn

Hello everyone, hope you all are well. I just wanted to tell you little story about my cat Bobyn.

My friend gave me kitten, very cute, I fell in love with her. Then 6 years ago, when my husband Frank was in palliative care, my daughter told me that Bobyn was deaf. I was surprised so took her to vet and they confirmed that she was deaf!

Bobyn is very clever, she knew that i am Deafblind. She gets my attention by tapping my leg or shoulder when she wants something. She is very affectionate; loves to nap on my legs and sleep with me in my bed. Loves my support worker Jess too when she came here to support me. Jess always brush Bobyn outside and loves it, meow a lot too.

Unfortunately sadly I had to put her to sleep on June 7th as she has stomach cancer. Only 11 half years young.

I will miss her so very much for ever! I had her cremated. Now i have urn and necklace. Great loving memories of Bobyn.

By Jeanette Loftus.

DBV Connect is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Go to www.dss.gov.au for more information.  

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.

DBV Connect is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Go to www.dss.gov.au for more information.  

Deafblind tips 8 – Rubbish bins with shoe laces

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??

DBV Connect is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Go to www.dss.gov.au for more information.  

Tech talk – Sunu band and Dot watch

A Sunu Band is an electronic bracelet that vibrates. It can detect obstacles in the environment and tell the time, among other features that are useful for deafblind people. DBV member John Hoctor trialled the Sunu Band – see two videos below, where he gives his impression of it, and navigates around the office when using the proximity sensor for the first time. He also trialled a Dot Watch, which is a braille watch that also pairs with smartphones and can receive SMS.

CLick for transcript and video demonstration

Deafblind tips 7 – Hospital communication

Before my surgery last year I thought to try and created of the communication between me and nurses at the hospital. You know Sometimes interpreters or Commguide are not available to support.

I typed up a short instruction and is laminated in size A4 paper then typed on words in braille.

See photo of my original template saying, “I can read braille”. I may point which words to show you what I need. You can hold my pointer finger and touch any braille word for me to read. the words under the instruction are – hello, drink, see you later, food, how are you, good, bad, feel hot, feel cold, toilet, pain, comfortable, not comfortable.

See other photos of a bright yellow sign. This yellow with large black print sign is to pin on the wall near the hospital bed for better attention because most in the wards the walls are white. Something for a contrast to be easily seen.

The yellow sign on the top of A4 paper in big block and bold saying ‘I AM DEAFBLIND’ The next lines says, ‘Please tap my shoulder few times this lets me know you are here and want to talk to me. Please write words slowly on my palm hand with your finger in big capital letters. I can write on paper with my pen for you to read.’

From my experiences, I enjoyed communicating with friendly nurses which made me feel good. Also, I had the notebook with a pen for some specific information, I had to write notes for them to read.

I remember a bit after my surgery in the recovery room A nurse woke me up. I was drowsy while Nurse held my finger to the braille word ‘How are you’ I read and signed “thumb up’. After our short conversation, I was surprised that a nurse hugged me. Something that she was proud to talk to me herself.

I received some feedback from nurses, they liked the idea of communication template. They suggested me to add some more words. I will improve this system, but it is really up to deafblind persons to create to meet their own communication needs.

DBV Connect is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Go to www.dss.gov.au for more information.