NDIS information sessions
Register now for Hornsby, Dee Why and Chatswood events
With the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) soon to be rolled out across NSW, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is holding free information seminars about what the initiative means for people with vision loss.
As a registered NDIS service provider, Guide Dogs aims to inform residents aged 64 and under with vision loss, about eligibility, applying for funding and how Guide Dogs NSW/ACT can assist. Local health professionals are also invited to attend to learn what this new system might mean for their clients with impaired vision.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT General Manager Client Services, Frances Tinsley, said the services offered by the organisation helped people to realise that vision loss does not have to limit their independence.
"From learning how to use a long cane or a Guide Dog to talking GPS software and practical strategies for safely crossing roads, our services enable people with vision loss to get to school, university, work, sport, social events or wherever it is they need to go," she said.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, the leading provider of Guide Dogs and other services that enable people with impaired vision to get around their communities safely and independently, has assisted those living in the Hunter, ACT and Nepean-Blue Mountains to transition into the NDIS scheme during the initial rollout.
NDIS participant, Leonie Pye, who is legally blind due to Retinitis Pigmentosa and early onset Macular Degeneration, sought the assistance of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to explain the NDIS and provide support during the application and planning process more than 12 months ago.
Mrs Pye has had a long association with Guide Dogs and first contacted the organisation for orientation and mobility training with a long cane more than 26 years ago. She is currently working with her second Guide Dog, Franklin, who she was matched with in October 2012.
"After going through the initial funding application, I believe the NDIS is brilliant for people who are blind or vision impaired," she said. "My main piece of advice is to have someone, like an Orientation and Mobility Specialist from Guide Dogs, to assist with identifying and articulating your support needs before attending an NDIS planning meeting."
NDIS plans for those who have vision loss have included provisions for Orientation and Mobility training with a long cane and personalised Guide Dog NSW/ACT programs tailored to meet the lifestyle needs of each individual, and delivered in the person's home, community or work environment.
"While training Guide Dogs is an important part of our work, our most common program is showing people with impaired vision how to safely move through different environments, using a range of mobility aids and electronic devices," Ms Tinsley said.
Ms Tinsley encouraged anyone who is blind or vision impaired that would like more information on how to best transition into the scheme to attend one of the information sessions at Hornsby, Dee Why or Chatswood.
"We are looking forward to continuing to work with the National Disability Insurance Agency and hope our clients will continue to benefit from the assistance available under this significant advancement in the provision of disability support services."
From July 1, 2016, the NDIS will begin to become available to those living in the Central Coast, Murrumbidgee, Northern NSW, Western NSW, Far West NSW, South Eastern Sydney and Sydney regions.
Ms Tinsley stressed for the many people who are blind or vision impaired that are not eligible for NDIS funding, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's services will continue to be provided at no cost.
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT's highly trained Orientation and Mobility Specialists work with about 4,000 people of all ages each year to help them achieve their mobility goals.
Every day 28 Australians are diagnosed with uncorrectable vision loss, including nine wo will become blind.
- Hornsby: 1pm on Tuesday, May 24 at Hornsby RSL Club (Acacia room)
- Dee Why: 5pm on Wednesday, May 25 at Dee Why RSL (Oaks Room, Level 3)
- Chatswood: 9.30am on Thursday, May 26 at Dougherty Centre (Extension Room)
WHAT: Guide Dogs NSW/ACT NDIS information session for people aged between 0-64 who are vision impaired, their family, friends and carers
REGISTER: Call Guide Dogs NSW/ACT on 9412 9300 or email chatswood [at] guidedogs.com.au