Vision Services Provided by Guide Dogs
Orientation programs assist people who have a vision impairment to understand where they are and how to get to a particular destination. An Orientation & Mobility Instructor assesses the easiest and safest route and instructs the person to travel the route safely.
Long Cane Instruction involves teaching a person to move through the outdoor environment safely using “the Long Cane”. The cane is used to scan the area immediately in front of the person and check the ground ahead for the next step. The cane can be used to descend and climb stairs, detect gutters, and avoid obstacles.
The Guide Dog provides a fluid and fast mode of travel. A Guide Dog has significant advantages such as ease in moving through crowds and avoiding overhanging obstacles. The user must have a significant vision impairment and adequate travel goals to be eligible for instruction. Not all people with a vision impairment want or need to use a Guide Dog
Electronic Devices are provided to enable people to detect obstacles and locate openings. The “Mini Guide”, an ultra-sonic device, similar to radar, provides the user with information of objects up to four metres away. Electronic Devices cannot find steps going down or holes in the ground and must be used with an aid such as a Long Cane or Guide Dog.
Low Vision is the term used to describe a person's sight when it is significantly reduced and cannot be corrected with normal spectacles. A low vision assessment can help identify how much useful vision a person has and how this can best be used when moving through the environment. Often through the use of specific “low vision” skills the person can again move independently often without the use of an aid of any kind.
Children’s Services are provided to the Department of Education and Child Development (DECD) and by individual referrals. Intensive one-week skills programs are offered during school holiday periods which emphasise fun and provide opportunities to experience travel in a range of environments. Specialised Early Intervention programs also provide occupational therapy, orientation and mobility and low vision programs to the pre-school age group.
Resource assistance and advocacy is provided following requests for help or information. These may include assisting with difficulties involving access to buildings and public areas, application for audio-tactile installations at traffic lights, footpaths and so on.
Neurological Vision Service is provided to those people whose vision impairment is a result of a stroke, head injury or other damage to the brain. The Guide Dogs Association has developed highly successful methods of assessment and teaching people to visually search the environment. Using a portable scanning machine, in conjunction with instruction from a specifically trained Orientation & Mobility instructor, individuals can develop skills and strategies to rebuild their independence.
Occupational Therapy intervention is available to people of all ages to allow them to regain daily living skills.
Referrals are accepted from all sources, the individual, friends, family, health professionals, care workers etc. Referral can be made over the phone, by post or fax. A Doctor’s referral is not necessary. We ask only that the person being referred is aware of and agrees to the referral.
Assessment - once a referral has been made, a therapist will contact the individual and make a time to complete an assessment. This can be in hospital, at rehabilitation centre, the community or home. The assessment will explore the client’s needs and an individualized program of instruction developed.
Workshops and community education programs are an essential part of our work. We are committed to providing professional presentations, training and literature to Professionals, and other people/groups involved with the care of, or service provision to vision impaired people.