Blog Post; March 2020


We’ve all been saturated with news, updates, stories and images on the COVID-19 pandemic. For the most up-to-date information, we refer you to these two resources:

WHO (World Health Organisation)

Australian Government Department of Health


COVID-19 Infection Control Training

This Australian Government Department of Health 30-minute online training module is for health care workers in all settings. This training module covers the fundamentals of infection prevention and control for COVID-19 including:

  • COVID-19 – what is it?
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Keeping safe – protecting yourself and others
  • Myth-busting

Please click here to view this content.


Resources for Remote O&M Service Delivery

Allied Independence have gathered several resources on remote delivery of O&M services:


Blind Citizens Australia Happy Hours

(copied from the BCA Facebook page) The BCA Happy Hours have been created to keep Australians who are blind or vision impaired connected during this period of self-isolation. You do not need to be a BCA Member to attend, so please share with your friends who are blind or vision impaired who may like the opportunity to connect (virtually).

Happy Hours are a chance to share your thoughts around what’s going on, with updates from BCA on what we are currently doing, a forum to discuss any issues relevant to blindness and vision impairment and an opportunity to have some social connection. These will evolve, particular with your feedback, to provide an opportunity to build further social groups and keep us all connected.

Happy Hours will run Monday – Friday (excluding public holidays)
• Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:00am – 12:00pm AEDT
• Tuesday and Thursday 7:30pm – 8:30pm AEDT

There are three ways you can join our Happy Hour.
• If you are on a computer, laptop or tablet you can click on this link:
• If you are on a smart phone, you can tap on this number: +61370182005,,291084578#
• If you are on a landline, you can dial 02 8015 6011 and enter the code: 291 084 578

If you would like to learn a little more about Zoom, Jonathan Mosen has a FREE audio book available at called Meet Me Accessibily.

Look forward to chatting soon!


Become a Better O&M Specialist: Mini Presentation Bundle

Gain access to a bundle of presentations from the 2020 O&M Online Symposium for $67.00 USD. More information here.


Orientation and Mobility Assessment Survey

We are conducting a research project exploring what information is collected and reported during the orientation and mobility (O&M) assessment process. This is open to O&M specialists who are certified to work with children with visual impairments. In order to participate in this study, you must have completed an O&M assessment during the last three academic years (2019-2020, 2018-2019, and/or 2017-2018).

 You are welcome to complete the survey any time until May 31, 2020.

 If you have any questions about this study, please contact me directly:

 Dr. Justin Kaiser

Assistant Professor

University of Kentucky

Visual Impairment Program



A Step Forward Podcast – latest episodes

An Orientation and Mobility Specialist’s roadmap to increasing their students’ independence while staying sane in the work place.


Deaf Blind International Conference, August 12 -16 2019 Gold Coast, Australia

Paul Garwood (Senses Australia, WA) attended the DBI Conference which was hosted by Able Australia. The conference theme was: Sharing the knowledge to ACT: Accessibility. Communication. Technology. “Now is your time to ACT!”

Paul has advised us to open up the link provided by Able Australia which has many of the presentations from The 17th Deafblind International World Conference held from August 12-16 at the Gold Coast. Here is the link:

Paul attended a presentation on CHARGE and is pleased to share the following information: MOOC, a free 6 week course, open to anyone working with CHARGE. Individuals will receive a certificate at the end. Opens on the 4th April 2020:

14th Biennial CHARGE Syndrome Conference: Hobart 3-5 April, 2020. The Board of the CHARGE Syndrome Association of Australasia has taken the decision to cancel the forthcoming 14th Biennial CHARGE Syndrome conference, due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. More information can be read here.

Paul also recommends the following useful resources:

Thanks for sharing Paul!


Cocky Guides collecting second-hand White Canes

Cocky Guides founder Buck has created the White Cane Travels initiative to enable our travellers and friends to donate a spare White Cane that is no longer used. The good news is that Cocky Guides will be happy to take folding cane’s in good condition for this initiative.

By completing the link below you can complete a form that will enable Cocky Guides to contact you to arrange collection. We will do everything possible to ensure your White Cane travels to a community where White Canes are not available and gift it to another blind or low vision person who otherwise couldn’t afford to buy a White Cane for themselves. Register your interest to donate your spare White Cane using this link.


Crossing with No Controls: teaching street crossing skills remotely!

The APH program “Crossing with No Traffic Control” provides very realistic simulations of the sound of approaching vehicles, with step-by-step instructions for teaching your students the skills and concepts they need to deal with crossings with no traffic control. The program requires that the instructor be with the student during these exercises, which you can do by phone, skype, face-time, etc. in such a way that you and your student can both hear the exercises and instructions. 

Can be purchased via the link above. Further resources can be found here.


WeWALK Presents WTALKS: Live Broadcast Series with Experts in Assistive Tech

In these challenging times, would you not like to meet new people while working at home, benefit from their experiences and spend your time in the most productive way possible? If you are in search of a novel and informative experience, then “WTALKS” is for you! You will learn new things and feel your viewpoint broadening with 20-minute interviews with our visually impaired guests who are experts in the field of assistive technology in the world’s leading tech companies such as Microsoft and Google. The first episode of WTALKS will be live streamed on the WeWALK YouTube channel on the 4th of April at 4 PM, Pacific time.


An Update from ACVREP

We are living in unprecedented times currently in our country due to the Covid-19 virus.  Most of the conferences scheduled for this spring and into June have already been cancelled.  The fate of others is still uncertain.  The Board of Directors of ACVREP realizes that this may pose a hardship for those of you who are recertifying in 2020 and who still need recertification points.  As a result, the Board is waiving recertification late fees for the rest of 2020.

If you are scheduled to recertify in 2020 and if you submit your recertification application late, but before 12/31/2020 you will not be charged a late fee when you submit your application.

Mississippi State NRTC and OIB-Tac has free online, on-demand continuing education courses and yesterday Hadley announced that their professional development online, on-demand courses are now being offered at no charge to help address conference cancellations.

While we know that many of you and your agencies and school districts are facing difficult times right now, we hope that the decision by ACVREP to waive late fees this year may help to alleviate some of your concerns.  Please stay safe and well and let us know if we can be of further assistance.

Kathie Zeider, President


An update from Cocky Guides

As a valued Cocky Guides traveller, supporter or follower, I’d like to personally update you on the evolving 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

We’ve announced a temporary suspension of all group sensory short breaks and day trips until 30 June 2020. This is in response to expanded government travel restrictions and increased impacts from COVID-19 on the community. Travellers who have booked tours on a suspended trip will be contacted via telephone, prioritised by departure date, with alternative travel options.

Together, we have tried our best to support Australian communities that rely on tourism. We will continue to try and support these communities with a range of new and exciting tactile and sensory experiences you can have at home! We will provide details of these experiences over the coming weeks.

We also intend to have some Cocky Guides available in select areas to provide one on one support and transport for our travellers requiring access to essential services.

If you have any questions or concerns please phone me directly on 0403 827 666 or via email at

I look forward to announcing Cocky Guides new services real soon!

Stay safe


Stay Standing falls prevention program for older adults – FREE RESOURCES ONLINE

This online program includes the key best practice falls prevention presentations and the program home exercise manual in 12 translations. People can access the Stay Standing Program Online at no charge following a sign on process. Those who wish to send payment for the program may send an amount of their choosing to PayPal.Me/WarmFuzzies.  A YouTube channel is also available at Stay Standing Youtube channel  with new content being uploaded regularly.


Humanware Buddy App

We are pleased to announce the release of our HumanWare Buddy App, a new app to help you find your way around HumanWare’s products. Designed to assist teachers, students and professionals, the HumanWare Buddy App is the tool you need to have a successful and enjoyable experience with HumanWare’s products thanks to its easy-to-read step-by-step guides. Available via the App Store (iOS), coming soon to Google Play Store.


Stepping On: Train the Trainer workshop

“Build Confidence, Prevent Falls”

Monday 4th May, 9am-4pm, Royal Rehab in Ryde, NSW

More information through the Stepping On website.


WHO Report on Vision

Produced at the request of Member States during a side event to the 70th World Health Assembly, and with the support of experts from around the world, the report provides evidence on the magnitude of eye conditions and vision impairment globally, draws attention to effective strategies to address eye care, and offers recommendations for action to improve eye care services worldwide. Read more here.


Be My Guide

Welcome to the Be My Guide community!

My name is Paul, and I was part of the team at Senses Australia involved in developing Be My Guide. As our community grows, I wanted to acknowledge and thank each of you. I hope that Be My Guide has helped you in one way or another already, and I look forward to supporting you on your journey towards greater independence.

In my day-to-day work, I am an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. I am fortunate to assist blind, deafblind, and vision-impaired people to live a full and independent life. In particular, I teach skills in navigating the environment – knowing where you are (orientation), and getting where you need to go (mobility).

Be My Guide was created to encourage you to increase your confidence and independence in the community. Using video-calling technology, we link you with your most reliable supports – your friends and family, who describe your surroundings in real time, allowing you do what you need to do. Click here to learn more about how Be My Guide could assist you. Enjoy!

Senses Australia’s dedicated Sensory Services team supports people who are deaf, blind, or deafblind. Our team of specialists is available to help you or someone you know to develop important life skills and connect with others. Contact us to find out more about how we can support you to feel safe and confident in your community.

I truly hope that Be My Guide has made a difference to you and your family. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, I would be more than happy to assist you to achieve your full potential!

Best wishes,

Paul Garwood,

Senior Orientation & Mobility Specialist, Therapy Services, Senses Australia


Exercise and Mental Health

An ebook by ESSA (Exercise and Sports Science Australia), available here.


Six Years and Counting: The NDIS and the Australian Disability Services System (University of Western Australia)

This white paper utilises the observations and comments of a wide range of stakeholders and research about the implementation of the NDIS and its impact on the Australian Disability Services System. It is also informed by international experience and academic literature focused on economic models and policy frameworks that are similar to the NDIS. It has been six years since the commencement of the NDIS and it is now timely to step back and objectively assess what has and has not been achieved, including in terms of the 63 reports published that are relevant to the NDIS. The white paper is available to read here.


NDIS Resources for Health Practitioners (from Aftercare)

Aftercare is a registered NDIS Service Provider and have been working with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) since the 2013 Hunter Region trials. Two resources are available:


Vision 2020 Australia

Sector news alert: a roundup of the latest news in eye health and vision care


Access and Inclusion News

A round up of news from the world of accessible technology supporting #accessinteract