'Representing the Deafblind Community in Victoria'

Posts from the ‘DBV Events’ category

DBV AGM & Christmas Party 2022

New DBV Committee from left to right: Michelle, Rodney, Trudy, Alex, Heather, and Jasper joining remotely through Messenger on the iPad.

On Wednesday 30th November 2022 Deafblind Victoria ran a combined event with our first AGM and Christmas party to coincide with DBV’s 15-year anniversary! It was held at Richmond Rowing Club and the weather was perfect for a big turnout of over 20 DBV members, along with many commguides, volunteers & interpreters. DBV’s new strategic plan was presented, which shows our goals for the next two years – click here to download a copy.

All the current five DBV committee members will reprise their roles in 2023 and we welcome our newest committee member, Rodney Baskett!

Prizes were handed out for best-dressed, we had Kris Kringle gift exchange, and a guest appearance by Santa. We all sung happy birthday in Auslan for DBV’s 15th anniversary. DBV received some great feedback from members on the day. We wish to thank all of our members for attending and voting in the AGM, and the Auslan interpreters for your wonderful work.

Merry Christmas from DBV!

Click for photos and testimonials

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 announcement

“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?”

DBV Café – Charles Bonnet Syndrome

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 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

11th National Deafblind Conference – DBV group presentation

DBV were proud to present at the 11th National Deafblind Conference on 1st July. Five DBV members gave the closing presentation for the conference: “How Deafblind people run our own organisation”.

Jasper Cleland, Trudy Ryall and Michelle Stevens presented in Perth, and Alex Sar and Heather Lawson presented from Melbourne via a live video link. A video of the presentation is below; it is Auslan/English interpreted with live captions. Corrections for a few small captioning errors will follow.

Thank you to the amazing team of interpreters and commguides – all their names are listed below the speaker notes. Without them we would not have been able to make this presentation!

Abstract: Have you ever wondered how a group of Deafblind people can run a meeting? Hold community events? How would they access funding? What can they do without support, and what supports are needed? Since it was founded by three Deafblind people in 2007, Deafblind Victoria has become a flourishing community group with 45 members, a permanent office space and 8 staff. It remains grass-roots; all members and the entire committee of management are Deafblind, as are most of the paid staff. DBV runs a weekly drop-in program, monthly peer support events, a volunteer program, Deafblind Awareness training, and develops and shares information and resources. The physical space at DBV has been designed by Deafblind people, with communication and mobility needs in mind. In this presentation, members will share learnings, challenges and experiences in building and sustaining their unique self-advocacy group, including practises of peer mentoring and the development of Deafblind language and culture.

CLICK FOR SPEAKER NOTES

Covid safety workshop

Deafblind Victorians face unique challenges with Covid. For an overview of the issues, see our post from last November.

To help members stay safe and get support during the pandemic, Deafblind Victoria and SARU (the Self-Advocacy Resource Unit) ran a Covid safety workshop on 23rd June 2022. The workshop was facilitated by Miranda Darrer from SARU and Jasper Cleland from DBV. Members paired up to talk about their experiences of masks, testing, isolation, supports and access to information. They learned about which kinds of masks give you better protection, and they were able to try different masks and take them home.

Two guests attended to provide more information:

  • Bec Swansson from Able Australia answered questions about how Covid rules affect Deafblind people’s access to commguides
  • Christy Walsh, a Disability Liaison Officer (DLO) explained that each region in Victoria has a DLO who can help you access testing and treatment
click for photos

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