Blog Post; January 2020

Hi there! You may have noticed that previous blogs from 2019 have disappeared – unfortunately these were lost in the process of transitioning to the new website. Not to worry, all previous content will be uploaded again soon! In the meantime, enjoy reading your first OMAA Members’ Blog of 2020…

International Orientation & Mobility Online Symposium: 29-30 January 2020

Registrations are open from now until 24 January 2020. Click here to register. With the International O&M Online Symposium, you can get all of your ACVREP COMS continuing education credits for the year- without leaving town!

IMC17: Gothenburg 22-25 June 2020

A reminder that early bird registrations close 3rd March 2020. More information available via the conference website.

CVI Community Australia

A place to learn, share and create connections for people affected by CVI in Australia. CVI Community Australia is a voluntarily-run community for parents, professionals, carers and others. Their goal is to create a central space in Australia to share learning and ideas about Cortical Vision Impairment. Subscribe to their blog, or join their closed community Facebook group here.

Travel Eyes in Egypt

During the month of September 2019, Orientation and Mobility Specialists, Rebecca Dunkley and Metaxia Tsoukatos, travelled to Egypt with the touring company known as Travel Eyes.  We went as part of a group that included seven other sighted guides and seven travelers with various levels of vision impairment including two travelers with dual sensory loss (a judo Paralympian who competed in the Sydney Paralympics and the current reigning Scrabble tournament queen of the United Kingdom who competes with sighted players).  We travelled in style on the Sonesta Moon Goddess. Many different ancient sites were visited including The Valley of the Kings and Queens (over the hill from the Valley of the Kings), pyramids, tombs of 3 famous rulers from different dynasties, The Sphinx and many temples in places like Luxor, Karnack, Philae and Komombo. Continue reading (and check out the awesome photos!) at this link: Travel Eyes in Egypt 2019

OMAA Victoria Social Event

We had a fantastic turnout for the latest OMAA Victorian social event, held on Thursday 12th September. A group of 15 O&MS gathered to discuss all things COMS and enjoy dinner together at Naughtons Hotel, Parkville. It was great to have an update from Lil and hear how everyone is progressing with their COMS applications and exam preparations.
Thanks to everyone for making the time to come together to support each other and the O&M profession, especially those that travelled from outside of Melbourne. It was the best turn out in a long time and wonderful to have a mix of people from all the agencies, as well as free-lancers and a few not currently working in the field but still interested in COMS.
A very special thanks to Lil for providing an update, answering questions and for the incredible amount of work and passion she is investing in moving all of us along the winding pathway to certification.
Michelle Sharples

Stepping On: Building Confidence and Reducing Falls 3rd edn

In November 2019 the latest edition of the Stepping On manual was launched, and includes contributions from our very own Ewa Borkowski! The Stepping On program is a community-based falls-prevention program that shows participants how to reduce falls, increase confidence and maintain personal independence. Originally developed in Australia, based on research and scientifically proven to work, the Stepping On program is now internationally recognised as best practice in falls prevention. To purchase the manual, or to learn more about the program, please click here.

A Step Forward: new podcast for O&M Specialist

Allied Independence recently released a podcast series specifically for O&M Specialists. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Podcasts, there are currently 15 episodes available. Check them out here!

RIDBC Renwick Centre: Creating Accessible Documents

RIDBC has launched a series of webinars on creating accessible documents. This series of 5 webinars will support you when creating a range of documents that will be fully accessible through screen reader software and refreshable braille devices. Each episode will feature a step-by-step explanation for creating the documents which we will then share through a screen reader to help you ‘hear’ the results! For more information, click here to view the entire range of webinars available.

GEETA: A documentary by Emma Macey-Storch

This Australian documentary follows the story of an Indian woman whose young daughter is blinded by an acid attack and whose sight is eventually restored by eye surgery. Please click here to find out more about the documentary, or to make a donation towards their social impact campaign.


WeWalk has launched a new type of “smart cane”, integrating ultrasound obstacle detection with smart phone features such as Voice Assistant and navigational apps. Learn more here.

How I Learn website launch

In September 2019 VisAbility launched the How I Learn website, which aims to empower students with disability to have their voice heard and play an active role in their learning journey, setting them up for success at school and beyond. The website also includes resources for parents/caregivers, educators, and schools on how to best support students with disability at high school.

A Different Kind of Blind

A reflection by Hayden Moon on being blind but ‘not blind enough’; continue reading here.

Blind Alive

Eyes-Free Fitness® Free Accessible Fitness For All. Mel Scott, who is blind, brought together a team of fitness instructors, musicians, and audio editors in order to provide a variety of exercise programs for people who need or prefer non-visual cues while exercising. Many, many people with or without sight have enjoyed and benefited from these audio only workouts. Now they are all free for you to download and share.

Google Maps update

In October, Google Maps launched a new feature that gives users with vision impairments more detailed voice guidance. They can now receive new types of verbal announcements during walking trips. Currently only available in USA and Japan. Continue reading here.

Snap Send Solve

Snap Send Solve has made it easier for you to find the correct incident type for a report by introducing top level categories. Top level categories are groupings of incident types. These changes provide an extra layer of detail and assist us in ensuring your reports are being sent to the relevant Local Council or Authority. Be sure to update your app to check it out!

Why Businesses Should be More Inclusive

People with a disability may have many unique needs but they also share a lot of needs and wants that are common or adaptable. Not only is it unfair to overlook this community of people, but it is also not very business savvy. According to a NSW Business Chamber report (2017) the disability community holds around $100 billion of disposable income.  The size of this market is only a conservative estimate and could be much larger if various other criteria are factored in. It may seem opportunistic to think about the dollar value of being more inclusive, but it is actually an act of offering parity to people who are often put in the “too hard” or “other” tray. There are many resources available to help your business be more inclusive, feel better and improve your bottom line. Continue reading this article here.