'Representing the Deafblind Community in Victoria'

Posts from the ‘DBV Events’ category

Transport accessibility follow up

In Australia, public transport must be accessible. There are Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002, which sit under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA). The Transport Standards must be reviewed every five years.

Last July at Deafblind Café, the federal government consulted with DBV members about how Deafblind people access to trains, buses, taxis and other transport. They returned to DBV Café this year on 17th May to find out more about our experiences using public transport, and ideas for improving accessibility and the Transport Standards.

Katherine McKay and Harry Egan from the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts asked questions and took notes. Members talked about:

  • how they learned to travel safely and independently
  • the need for transport staff to be aware of deafblindness
  • the impact of damaged infrastructure and disrupted services
  • signage and announcements
  • obstacles, mobility and visibility (glare/reflections, colours of rails, etc.)
  • taxis and rideshare
  • funding and subsidies

Here is a video of Heather talking about her personal experiences with transport:

Click for photos

DBV Cafe – Deafblind services in Norway

At DBV Café 19th April, guest speaker Eli Raanes talked about Deafblind support services and interpreting in Norway. Eli is an interpreter herself, and she is in Australia to research deafblind communication. In Norway, some things are different. There is one role for interpreting and guiding. Every Norwegian Sign Language interpreter is expected to be able to work with deafblind signers, including guiding, using tactile signs, visual frame, deafblind fingerspelling and haptics.

Access to community is good, with rails and tactile dots on the ground, but the ground can be covered in snow, slippery and mountainous, so guides are important for deafblind mobility. There is no NDIS – instead, the government funds services directly.

After Eli’s presentation and Q & A, there was an Easter hat competition, and we celebrated DBV member David Wise’s 70th Birthday. Happy Birthday David!

Click for photos

Deafblind Victoria Special General Meeting (SGM)

Special Announcement to DBV Members.

The Deafblind Victoria committee wants DBV to register as a charity with the federal government. This can help us raise money, and donations to DBV will be tax deductible.
The government will agree to register DBV as a charity with tax deductible donations, only if we make two small changes to our DBV rules or “constitution”. To change our constitution, the members must be asked to vote yes or no. There will be a short meeting to vote on this at DBV café in May. You are invited! We will explain in Auslan at the meeting. Let me know if you have any questions. 

When​: May 17th., Time: 12:00pm 
Where​: 4th Floor meeting room Hayden Smith Meeting Room:  Interpreters provided.  This will be a short meeting. No other items will be raised.  
Agenda and Proxy voting form will be provided nearer to the meeting date.  

Click for proposed changes to the constitution

Deafblind Tips at DBV Café

As Deafblind people, we manage our lives differently to hearing and sighted people. We love sharing helpful hints and tips with each other, like how we know which bus has arrived at our stop, how we tell when bananas are ripe, or how we manage when in hospital without interpreters. Some of these ideas can be found in the Deafblind Tips section of our website.

On 15th March 2023 at DBV Café, members shared some of their best tips, including:

  • Adding a hair tie on a shampoo bottle to tell the difference from the conditioner bottle
  • Adding knots to shoelaces to match each shoe with its pair
  • Making your own travel book that helps you travel independently on public transport or in a taxi
  • Live captions on Samsung phones
  • Feeling the outside temperature by touching a window

Thanks to everyone who shared tips, and everyone who came to learn about them! We would love to add your tips to our website. The DBV Connect project has gift vouchers for members who share their skills and knowledge. Contact DBV to arrange to make a post on the website.

Click for photos

Craft group prepares for Deafblind Awareness week 2023

DBV’s craft group started in 2021 with support from a small grant, to prepare yarn bombing crafts for Deafblind Awareness Week that year. The craft group was very popular and is still running in 2023, on the second Wednesday every month. All Deafblind are welcome!

This year the group is again preparing crafts for Deafblind Awareness Week. There will be a window display at the front of Ross House, including air-dried clay ornaments made and painted at craft group. We enjoy the social connection and relaxation this group provides. It’s great for our mental health!

See photos taken by DBV’s Robert Lokmer on 8th March 2023. Thank you to everyone who came!

The Deafblind Community – Growing Together project is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Go to www.dss.gov.au for more information.

Deafblind guest speaker Jael from USA

Today 15th Feb 2023 at Deafblind Café, 15 Deafblind people were introduced to new member Jael, who is also Deafblind and has moved to Melbourne from Texas, USA.

Jael talked about the services available for Deafblind community in the States. Funding for supports in America varies, depending on which state you live in. Jael worked at Boeing as a machinist with other Deafblind machinists. One of the work stations was set up with a braille display for blind staff! However, Jael saw more opportunities for herself here in Australia. She is busy learning tactile Auslan.

There were many questions from DBV members and a lively discussion. We wish to extend a warm welcome to Jael to the Deafblind community in Victoria, and we look forward to getting to know her more. Welcome Jael, and thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

Click for photos

Joe’s Exhibition and Time Out café

On 8th Feb 2023, 15 Deafblind Victorians with supports went to Time Out café to share lunch and see Deafblind artist Joe Monteleone’s exhibition. 31 people attended, including commguides, DBV volunteers and a couple of Deaf guests from interstate.

Joe is a DBV member and currently has his second art exhibition at Federation Square. It’s a beautiful image lino cut and screen printed in 12 panels that combine to make one large picture of Flinders Street station. The exhibition runs until 5th March; be sure to check it out!

Joe described the process and answered questions, with an Auslan interpreter provided by DBV. DBV member Michelle Stevens printed braille visual descriptions and Joe’s biography. There is also braille signage, and Joe’s videos in Auslan can be viewed by scanning QR codes. Joe brought and handed around a piece of vinyl for DBV members to feel the textures of his lino-cut carving work.

We look forward to seeing you all again at the next DBV craft group event!

The Deafblind Community – Growing Together project is supported by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. Go to www.dss.gov.au for more information.

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