A program for people with disabilities was recently run in Geelong. It was called LEAD Barwon. The program helped people become more confident. It also taught them communication skills. This enabled them to share their experience of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Nineteen people participated in the program. They told their stories in the media. They also gave feedback about the NDIS. This information will help improve the NDIS for others. The participants all got a lot from the program. But it has been good for their communities too.
It was a game of basketball with a difference. Replacing the squeal of sneakers on the court came the sound of clashing wheelchairs. With the cheers of about 30 teenagers from the sideline, the game was on in earnest. And as the students from Victoria University Secondary College in St Albans were finding out, this match wasn't so much about winning or losing. It was about the challenges of life when using a wheelchair. The game was part of the Wheeltalk School Awareness Program that encourages people to think about diversity, disability and acceptance.
The Computer Café at my local TAFE college has me learning new ways to keep me functioning effectively without sight. Before this program, many people with disabilities thought learning computers wouldn’t be possible. But with a high level of support, people are not only learning about using computers but also increasing their prospects and enhancing their lives. It’s a small program making a huge difference.
Learning to sign from a young age can help both parent and child
Parents sometimes get upset when their children are born deaf. They don't know what to do. There are some educational resources listed here that can teach parents how to communicate with their Deaf children. Educators or specialised schools can also help by giving parents new coping strategies as well as educational resources. But nothing beats spending time with your child in a family environment.
In 2009 the only Victorian school for people who are blind or have vision impairment closed its doors. Alan Lachman then created Insight, a specialist service for the blind. Insight is now open in Berwick in Melbourne's south-east, with a specialist primary school will scheduled to open 2013. Insight will offer programs for pre-schoolers, secondary students and parents, welcoming all children who are blind or have vision impairment.
Improving access to education for Indigenous Australians
Frank Hall-Bentick has established a fund to help people with a disability. People can apply for up to $2500 to help them pay for education. Mr Hall-Bentick wants to help people have a better education than he did. He believes learning is very important. He is also keen to help Indigenous Australians. The next funding round closes on September 30, 2011.
Ai-Live can help students to participate in mainstream school classrooms
Ai-Live is new technology for Australian classrooms. It helps Deaf and hearing impaired students. Everything spoken in class appears on a computer screen. The Shadow Minister for Disabilities wants a trial of the technology in Australian schools. Senator Mitch Fifield says it will help students get the most out of their education. Experienced teacher Leonie Jackson came up with the idea for Ai-Live five years ago. A trial at a high school was very successful. Student work improved. The technology is not expensive.
Reviewing education standards for students with a disability
The Australian Government is reviewing education standards for students with a disability. The standards have been in place for five years. The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations says the review is needed. They say many students with a disability are still not treated well. A discussion paper has been released. You can also have your say. The deadline for feedback is April 21.
The old Perkins Brailler uses the six dot Braille alphabet system
Children with a disability have a right to education. But I had to overcome many barriers to get an education. I started at a school for the blind. I slowly learned to read Braille. My mother helped me. I wanted to go to a regular high school. I wanted to make my own choices. But high school was difficult. I spent a lot of time typing on a Braille typewriter. University was even harder. Audio books were used. I had to stay up at night making notes. I want all blind students to get a good education.
Siblings in Sync is a music program. It is for children with disabilities and their brothers and sisters. Children are encouraged to make music together. Children are also encouraged to express how they feel. There are many different activities. Any needs the children have are discussed with parents before the program starts. The children had a great time at the session we attended. Parents were also pleased with the program.