Start from here
Find out the latest
Out & about
What life's all about
All the gadgets
Rights & policies
Know your stuff
Since writing poetry about the colour green at the age of seven, I have written my way through the entire rainbow. I've also scripted theatre shows, written for radio, have worked in advertising and as a journalist on a disability newspaper. The loss of my vision has not closed my eyes to the world around me.
I want to raise the curtain on theatre and performance and more broadly on recreation. I’m into transport issues and how people get around. I’m also passionate about human rights, especially for those with disability trying to access services, places and information.
People who are blind or who have vision impairments tell some of their stories of using public transport. Sometimes the loudspeaker announcements on trains tell these people the wrong station. Sometimes drivers forget to tell these people the right tram stops. Some blind users think that drivers should know their tram and bus routes. Users might try to complain but it doesn't work. Drivers need to learn how to deal with blind people.
Keeping fit when you are a person with a disability can be tough. I spoke to Penny about her fitness program through Scope Victoria, which has support staff to help when needed. I also spoke to Ramona, who has vision impairment and does the Keiser program, which offers a trainer to monitor her workouts and to help place her hands correctly on the gym equipment. Both recommend regular fitness training with specialist instructors as it is good for both body and mind.
How can you deal with the stresses of everyday life? Recently I tried mindfulness meditation, which is the process of being mindful of your own thoughts. I learned that it's okay to let ideas come and go. It's also okay to notice whether your chair is hard or whether the light is buzzing. Mindful meditation is good for people with disabilities who find it difficult to hear, see or move.
When you're blind or have low vision, doing things like reading in dim light or telling the colour of your clothes can be hard. There is software for the iPhone that can help you with these tasks.
There are apps to increase text size and to light pages up for easier reading. Other apps can even tell you what colour clothes you're wearing, or tell you if you have left on the lights.
This story looks at a few of these types of applications for the iPhone. There are many more, both free and available to buy from the iStore.
If you are a person with a vision impairment it can be hard to keep up with the latest books, read bills or other documents. Machines that read books aloud have been available for many years. I now use a product called Pearl. It allows you to take a photo of a page of words that is then quickly read aloud by a computer. If you don't like using computers, the SARA reading machine is easy to use. You place a book on a scanner and press one button. It starts reading the words aloud straight away.