Blog Post; September 2020

Renwick Centre Podcast

Did you know that the Renwick Centre hosts its own podcast? Both keynote speakers from our upcoming OMAA Online Symposium (22 September 2020) featured on recent episodes to share their expertise and promote the Symposium. Click here to hear Lil Deverell discuss her experience with measuring functional vision, and click here to hear Helen St Clair Tracy discuss her knowledge of CVI.


Usher in Focus: 14-18 September 2020

Usher Kids Australia are running a week of online webinars to educate, support and connect the Australian Usher community. This is a part of the celebration of the International Usher Syndrome Awareness Day on September 19th 2020. The Usher in Focus program will run 14-18 September 2020 and more information is available at the Usher Kids Australia website. Attendees are eligible for 12 CPD credits towards their COMS recertification.


HumanWare Live Webinar Series

The HumanWare webinars now enable all ACVREP certified professionals to develop competencies while qualifying for continuing education clock hours. Their sessions are free of charge and allow you to earn one-hour of continuing education credit for each session. Whether you are looking to pursue CE activities or are interested in learning best practices using their technologies, you are welcome to join HumanWare’s new series! Click here to view their upcoming session calendar.


International O&M Online Symposium: 3-4 February 2021

Presentation applications are now open! What do I get as a presenter? Complimentary Pass + Stipend + Support. Will there be CEU’s? Yes. This year, we’ve even figured out how to have multiple breakout sessions. But we’ll always make sure that the time you spend in a session will be worth your time. Where can I find out more info? Everything we know is on our website


IMC17 Updates

  • New conference dates: 22-25 April 2021
  • New abstract submission dates: 1st September and 15th October 2020
  • New deadline for early bird registration: 22nd January 2021
  • New program: aiming for mid-December 2020 release
  • Check the website for further updates

Many of you have earlier registered for the conference. In your case, the registration, as well as the other bookings (study visits, dinner, hotel etc.) have been automatically transferred to the new dates. Even the abstracts accepted for the oral and poster presentations, as well as the workshops, continue to be valid.


My Community, My Way

‘My Community, My Way’ is a new online interactive hub where people with low vision and blindness, carers, and professional who work with this community can find all the information they need from Guide Dogs organisations across the country in the one place. The hub is designed to provide support, keep users informed, and connect people with others in their community. Visit the My Community, My Way hub to start exploring!


Aboriginal Blind People’s Forum: 30th September 2020

Blind Citizens Australia, with the support of organisations such as First People’s Disability Network, are excited to announce the next Aboriginal Blind People’s Forum. These forums are an opportunity for First Nation’s people who are blind or vision impaired from throughout Australia to come together. Click here for more information.


BCA Connect: 17th October 2020

Blind Citizens Australia are hosting BCA Connect, their first virtual conference, to share information, provide you with the opportunity to ask questions on a variety of topics, and as is tradition with all Blind Citizens Australia events, there will be plenty of opportunities to socialise and reconnect. You can join the conference through your computer, tablet, smart phone or land line.


Microsoft Soundscape App updates

(from the Microsoft Enable Group website): Welcome to the Microsoft Soundscape guidance and resources blog regarding COVID-19. We hope you are managing to stay safe and well during these extremely trying times. We know that the COVID-19 situation is having a very material impact on everyone in the blindness community. Services and support that we often rely on, such as a sighted guide or mobility instructor, may have been reduced or entirely suspended, yet we still need to get groceries, head to the chemist, and get some fresh air. Our goal with a new series of blogs is to engage with you, and share different ways that you can leverage Microsoft Soundscape and related tools and resources to help you manage, and perhaps even enjoy new experiences and develop new skills along the way. We hope you find it useful, and do let us know how you get on by sharing your feedback at or on our Soundscape Community Group page on Facebook.


Celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day with Be My Eyes

May 21 was Global Accessibility Awareness Day and Be My Eyes had some great suggestions on how to get involved:

  • Watch the “Accessibility Is” video on YouTube (3 minutes)
  • Listen to GAAD cofounders Joe Devon and Jennison Asuncion in the Global Accessibility Action Every Day episode on 13 Letters (Be My Eyes podcast)
  • Watch Blind Abroad, a 15 minute travel documentary that “follows filmmaker James Rath as he travels to different countries to learn from locals on how cultures and societies see disability and uncover accessibility globally”


Supersense App updates

The iOS version of the app has recently received some exciting updates, including a new explorer setting which allows users to scan their environment and hear about objects that are around them. A PDF recognizer has also been added, as well as the ability to scan Australian currency.

Supersense have launched their own blog, where you can find life hacks for blind people and people with low vision, profiles of very talented and empowered members of the blind community, the latest news from their developer team, and user reviews. Read more here.


New Book Release: “Positive Vision” by Ken Brandt

An American-born IT consultant-turned-author credits two Australian ophthalmologists with restoring limited vision in his right eye, allowing him to write a book on his experience living with low vision. First-time author Mr Ken Brandt’s new book Positive Vision: enjoying the adventures and advantages of poor eyesight, is launching in Australia and internationally on 18 September, and is an upbeat exploration of how he manages life with poor vision. Click here to read the full article.


Code Jumper Webinars

HumanWare and APH are pleased to invite you to Code Jumper webinars taking place on September 15th and September 29th. Get ready to unpack your Code Jumper kit and follow along with facilitators as this product which teaches all students how to write computer code is demonstrated. Specifically, three Code Jumper lessons will be examined and participants will learn how this kit also encourages the use of life skills such as collaboration, problem-solving, communication, creativity, and perseverance.


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.


ANATAD Podcast

ANATAD Podcast is here to bridge the gap for blind users of technology. At ANATAD Podcast, they aim to change people’s perspective of Android usage by the blind and the visually impaired. ANATAD stands for Android News, Apps, Talk, And Deals. Click here to find the latest episodes.


Disability Royal Commission

The commission is resuming public hearings, with provisions made in line with relevant health advice. More information can be found at the commission website. Of particular relevance to the O&M community are the following hearings:

  • Week of 12 October: Public hearing, Brisbane – Barriers experienced by students with disability in accessing and obtaining a safe, quality and inclusive school education and consequent life course impacts
  • December, TBC: Public hearing, Sydney – Systemic barriers in the pathways to employment for people with disability 


Helping patients overcome the ‘foggy glasses’ dilemma

With face masks being encouraged in populated areas and mandatory in parts of Victoria, spectacle wearers are faced with an additional challenge. Wearing a covering over the mouth forces warm breath to seep from the top of the mask causing the cooler spectacle lenses to fog, limiting visibility. According to Specsavers in the UK, there has been a staggering 242% increase in online searches questioning how to tackle this problem. Read the full article here, including tips and strategies on combating this issue.


TGA approves Luxturna gene therapy

In a historical development for the eye health sector, the Therapeutics Goods Administration (TGA) has approved the country’s first true gene therapy, indicated for a rare form of inherited retinal disease (IRD). Read the full article here.


Study: AMD patients at higher risk of COVID-19 death

A new study has found that people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are at greater risk of developing severe complications and dying from COVID-19. Read the full article here.


Study: Dual sensory impairment in older adults and risk of dementia

Researchers have linked hearing impairment and vision impairment individually to an increased chance of developing dementia. However, a new study finds that an individual’s chances of developing dementia are significantly higher when they have both conditions. The risk of developing dementia increases by 86% for individuals who have both hearing and visual impairment. Read the full article here. The complete research paper can also be accessed here.


Access and Inclusion Through Technology

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

Free eBooks Available for APH Press Customers

To keep book prices as low as possible for their customers, APH Press employ a print-on-demand system – Lightning Source. This means books are printed only when they are ordered, which eliminates the costs associated with maintaining and tracking an inventory of books. APH Press also understands teachers and students don’t have time to wait several weeks for a book that they may need for class now. To address these delays, when you order a print copy of an APH Press book, they can also provide a digital eBook version at no extra cost. Since eBooks do not have to be printed or shipped, you will have immediate access to a book’s content before your printed book arrives. This solution will be offered until Lightning Source is able to improve delivery times. If you’d like to receive an eBook copy with your print order, please be sure to provide an email address at the time of purchase. Within approximately 24hrs you will receive an emailed link to download the book. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact APH Press at

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