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.
Illegal parking in disability spots inconveniences people with disabilities. Only people with valid permits can use disability parking spots. Local councils issue the permits. In Victoria people who don’t have a valid permit can be fined $148. People who illegally park in disability spots might also find a photo of their car on the internet for all to see. Disability activist Samantha Connor has created an online group to shame people who illegally park their cars. The site has hundreds of pictures of illegally parked cars. Taking pictures can result in confrontations with drivers. So reporting illegal parking to councils is a safer option.
A woman using some wool to make a needlepoint image
To engage in society.
Last year an inquiry into social inclusion among Victorians with disability was carried out. It was undertaken by the Committee for Family and Community Development. This is a committee of the Victorian Parliament. The inquiry looked into how people with disabilities are included or excluded in society. It developed a definition for social inclusion. There were 25 recommendations in the report of the inquiry. The Government tabled its response to the report last month. It says the recommendations will help to inform the new State Disability Plan 2017-2020.
I run an editing and writing business called Artful Words. A few years ago I made a website for my business. Now I am creating a new one. It is important to me that my website is accessible to all visitors. I have been learning a lot about this. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines discuss issues with website accessibility. I need to think about these as I build my new website. Development, design and content all matter. There are also tools I can use to check the accessibility of my new website.
You can help the Victorian government to do a better job for people with a disability. The government wants to make sure the Victorian State Disability Plan is on the right track and making the changes that matter to people with a disability. The plan is the ideas the government has to improve the lives of people with a disability. The government is asking people with a disability who are over 18 and living in Victoria to answer some questions. The questions will take between five and 15 minutes to do. The questions will be available for you to answer until 29 May 2015.
Kurt Fearnley has won three gold medals for wheelchair racing at the Paralympic Games. He has raced in many marathons and crawled over the tough Kokoda track in Papua New Guinea. In his book, “Pushing the Limits: Life, Marathons & Kokoda” he shows what people with disabilities can do. He says it is important for everyone to be treated the same. He writes how his family and friends taught him to have self-confidence and not give up. His determination helped him to become a great athlete.