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.Click for transcript
Here is an update of the latest activities of DBV and its members
Deafblind Victoria attended the Lunch and Learn online workshop held by Guide Dogs Victoria on Tuesday the 7th of September, 2021.
Presenter Glen Morrow discussed the new Apple iOS15 for iPhones and iPads, as well as various accessibility settings like individual app settings for high-contrast, dark background with white large text, adding descriptions to photos as well as using dictation on Samsung smart phones.
Every month, Guide Dogs Victoria will have regular half-hour workshops covering many different topics relating to accessibility and technology for people with low vision needs.
Here is a short video of Deafblind Victoria member Andrew Howard talking about the assistive technology workshop he attended in Auslan.
Translation of video :
They explained about AT (assistive technology) on mobile phones and iPads, and using apps on them. If the app’s background is white, it can be hard to read. You can change the background to black. That’s good! You can set it for any app.
The second thing was photos. There is a VoiceOver description for photos. It connects to braille so you can read it in braille too. That works for any app.
The third thing is… ummm…. dogs, shopping, technology… [Andrew tries to remember]
iOS 15 will be released soon – some time in the next few weeks. That’s all. Bye!”
Great news that any Deafblind people who aren’t registered with NDIS can access interpreters, tactile interpreters and captioners funded by the Government. Here’s more information from the Department of Health:
From November 2020, older Australians who are deaf, deafblind, or hard of hearing, and who do not have access to interpreting services through aged care programs or the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), can access free sign language interpreting services for daily activities such as:
– family/social events
– moving/selling house
– dealing with agencies/advisors etc.
These services are available face-to-face and by video remote.
Sign language services for deaf consumers or consumers who are hard of hearing are available in:
– American Sign Language
– International Sign Language
– Signed English
– Tactile signing and hand over hand interpreting is available for deafblind consumers.
Access these services
Clients will need to contact Auslan Connections in advance. Once registered you will receive a Department of Health booking code which can be used each time they book an interpreting service. Bookings can be made via the Auslan Connections website or by calling 1300 010 877.
Bookings should be made in advance when possible to ensure the availability of an interpreter.
Each client can access an average of 40 hours of interpreting services per year. Over the next six months usage will be monitored. A cap may be applied in the 2021-22 financial year.
Deaf or hard of hearing clients who are over 65 won’t be required to receive an aged care assessment if they are seeking to access interpreting services.
This new arrangement is in addition to the sign language interpreting services for older Australians who are receiving or want to access aged care services, as announced by the Minister on 17 June 2020.
The first Deafblind World workshop for 2020 was on Tuesday 10th March. The DBV team were proud to make our first trip to Geelong by mini bus along with commguides. Three Deafblind members ran a special workshop to the ILC Branch of the NDIA in Geelong. The ILC team run part of the NDIS, so it was a great opportunity to raise Deafblind awareness in the NDIS. There were 30 participants who attended. As usual we ran activities for the participants to do wearing pinhole goggles, blindfolds and earplugs. We shared stories and information about our Deafblind life, Deafblind technology, support from interpreters and commguides, DBV’s peer support program and how Deafblind persons can succeed in their lives. We received so many questions from the participants. They could see how interpreters work together with Deafblind presenters in a workshop, including tactile sign. Feedback was very positive. Participants found the activities confronting as they tried to communicate and move around without vision or hearing, and they learned a lot about deafblindness and what it feels like to be Deafblind. Here are three comments from evaluations:
- It was very powerful. Keep it up!
- Understanding the challenges from people with lived experience is much more rewarding for me, and makes me appreciate how I can make a difference better.
- I learnt about inspiration, resilience, courage and hope.