Bernadette Lancefield

Bernadette Lancefield
Bernadette Lancefield

I'm blind and have a seeing-eye dog named Zora. I completed an arts degree at Monash University, majoring in English. I've also studied psychology and behavioural studies subjects. I've always enjoyed writing. I've had articles, short stories and poems published in magazines. Through writing for Divine, I hope to combine my passion for helping others, and my interest in psychology.

I'm blind and have a seeing-eye dog named Zora. I completed an arts degree at Monash University, majoring in English. I've also studied psychology and behavioural studies subjects. I've always enjoyed writing.

Bernadette Lancefield's articles

The book cover
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time

A unique read.

Published in 2003, Mark Hatton’s “The curious incident of the dog in the night-time” is a mystery novel set in England. It’s narrated by a fifteen year old boy, Christopher John Francis Boone. He has Asperger’s syndrome but this is only mentioned in the book notes. Hatton writes in the first person, which I believe increases the sense of intimacy in the story. The main theme of this book explores Christopher’s experience of living with Asperger’s syndrome and how his condition impacts those close to him.
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The hands of a child on a braille book.

I learned braille as a six year-old.

Braille is a system of raised dots that enables people with a vision impairment to read and write. I learned braille as a six year-old. Learning braille enabled me to become literate. Some argue the transition from braille to computerised speech has not been welcomed by many people with a vision impairment. In my view, modern technologies have put people with a vision impairment on a more equal footing with sighted peers. While my need for braille has reduced over the years, I’ll always be grateful for its existence.
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A photo of an iPhone 5C.
I used the iPhone 5C.

I used an iphone 5C.

CamFind is a free and easy to use phone application that allows you to identify objects by taking photos. CamFind can be a helpful tool, especially for a person without sight. BrailleTouch is a program that allows you to type on an iPhone touch screen, using a Braille keyboard. While I found this application a bit frustrating to use, I like the idea of it.
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Ski fields and a close-up of a person's ski boots

It's well worth giving it a go.

The Vision Impaired Blind and Everyone (VIBE) Ski club is based at Mount Baw Baw in Victoria. The club promotes opportunities for people who are blind or vision-impaired to ski. Peggy is vision-impaired and has been involved in the club for many years. Peggy skis with a sighted guide who wears a high-visibility vest. Her guide gives her verbal directions. If the weather is good and Peggy can see enough, she follows her guide. When visibility is poor, Peggy skies beside her guide and holds onto the guide's ski pole.
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A close-up of a masseuse's hands massaging a person's leg.

More often than not, clients don't even know I'm blind.

Bronwyn Davies is blind and has been running her own massage clinic for the past eight years. She set up a room at home as a clinic. She types up her client's case history on a laptop with screen reading software. Bronwyn has built a good rapport with a physiotherapy clinic and they refer most of her clients to her. Bronwyn says that being a masseuse is a rewarding career and encourages anyone interested in the field to go for it.
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A close-up of a horse.

A horse is a wonderful therapeutic tool.

Riding Develops Ability (RDA) is a not-for-profit organisation that helps people with disabilities to develop their horse riding skills. There are 37 centres, 1200 riders and 800 volunteers in Victoria. Horse riding can have many benefits such as strengthening muscles, improving posture and boosting self-esteem. Ann McCluskey has been involved with the RDA in Doveton for more than 20 years. She says riders, coaches and volunteers all benefit from RDA.
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An empty theatre with the photo taken from the raised stage.

Earfilms rely on audio and imagination.

An Earfilm is a film that relies completely on audio and imagination. The audience is blindfolded. It uses 3D sound, a cinematic musical score and live storytelling and narration. An Earfilm will be held at the Melbourne Recital Centre. To Sleep to Dream will play from 7 to 11 March.
1 comment - on 11/03/2014
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The front of the ComPilot has two buttons to control volume.

I use it to better hear my phone and TV.

ComPilot is a small device that connects wireless hearing aids with Bluetooth technology. It hangs from a cord around your neck. I use it to help me hear the TV and my iPhone better. ComPilot has improved my experience of listening to TV. Not only is the volume louder but speech is easier to understand. I’ve also found ComPilot helpful when texting on my iPhone in public, as no one else can hear what I’m typing. I recommend ComPilot for anyone who wears wireless hearing aids and has trouble hearing the TV and their mobile phone.
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A close-up of a red Kangaroo Paw plant.

Kangaroo Paw has a coarse texture.

A sensory garden appeals to our five senses of touch, sight, smell, hearing and taste. In sensory gardens people with disabilities can interact with nature in a safe environment. Various plants are close to paths to invite visitors to touch petals, leaves and branches. There may be sunny and shady areas. Sounds in a garden may include water splashing from a fountain. I visited Vision Australia’s sensory garden in Melbourne. As I moved through the garden I enjoyed the various smells and feeling the different plants. I especially loved the yellow rose bush, the rosemary bush and the Kangaroo Paw.
1 comment - on 21/01/2014
A winding path surrounded by trees

We walked along a path.

Eastern Heart and Sole is a walking group run by Vision Australia and the Heart Foundation. People meet each Tuesday for a five-kilometre walk in the eastern suburb of Boronia in Melbourne. Anyone who enjoys exercising in the fresh air and being social at the same time can come along. When I did the walk there were people with and without a vision impairment. I enjoyed the walk. We stopped for a while in a park .When we finished the walk we had a drink at a local café. We all talked to each other.
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