'Representing the Deafblind Community in Victoria'

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.

Deafblind mental health

Deafblind Victoria held a mental health event on 18th May 2022 that was attended by 14 Deafblind Victorians, and supported by 12 interpreters, 2 commguides, 2 DBV support staff, one Auslan student on work placement and one volunteer.

Trudy Ryall, a deafblind person who has experienced mental ill health, introduced the event, acknowledging the $1000 grant from the Deaf Mental Health trust fund (Ben Souter) that helped fund it. Many DBV members knew Ben and we think he would be proud to see our community coming together to look after deafblind mental health in his name. 

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ABC TV report: interpreter and commguide shortage

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.

ABC TV News, Victoria, 16.5.2022
Click for transcript

Craft group – card making and beanie making

Kathy and Rodney learn to make beanies

On Wednesday 13th of April, DBV had our monthly craft activity day. DBV members Debbie and Kathy taught the group how to make beautiful art cards.

We also had art therapist Kim visiting from Camberwell Community Centre to show the group how to knit their own beanies.

Enjoy the gallery of photos below. We look forward to seeing you all at the next DBV craft day on May 11th when DBV visit ArtVo.

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Recreation program – Luna Park

DBV members on the roller coaster at Luna Park

On Saturday the 26th of March, DBV members went for an exciting trip to Luna Park. It was a great day. Thanks Alex for coordinating the activity, and to all support people for helping make it a great day.

Enjoy the gallery of pics below. Photos taken by DBV member Robert. We hope to see you at the next DBV recreation activity! Check the what’s on page for updates.

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Tactile maps research

Leona and Ruth from Monash University testing 3D printed building models with Heather Lawson & interpreters

Researchers from Monash University are testing 3D printed models with blind and deafblind people. These models show the layout of rooms in a building, including the location of walls, stairs, toilets, shops and more. They can show different floors of the same building. The researchers, Ruth and Leona, visited DBV yesterday to test the models with DBV members. We think it’s a great idea and we hope to see tactile models of buildings in future! It might help us find our way around independently.

For more information on the study and to register your interest, please visit: https://forms.gle/fFvvUFRcztUJa7cE9.  

Contact Ruth.Nagassa@monash.edu if you have any questions.

Craft group – Southbank and National Gallery

DBV members Richard and Debbie with communication guides, engaging with Aboriginal art at NGV.

On the 9th of March, 13 Deafblind Victoria members attended our monthly craft group activity.

We took a trip to Southbank for lunch, followed by a trip to the National Gallery of Victoria to explore their Exhibition called “Marking Time: Indigenous Art”.

Enjoy the photos taken by DBV members on the day.

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