About GAM Industries

GAM Industries was set-up in 2013 as a company created and operated by Greg Madson to disseminate information on accessibility for people who are blind or have low vision.

GAM Logo

GAM Logo

Making up the logo of the company – the image that appears as seen above is a representation of the word gam in braille.

If you are looking for a website builder with experience in design for Accessibility , assistive technology training, or advice on how to make your website accessible to people with a disability, I can assist.

ONKYO BRAILLE ESSAY COMPETITION 2020

The World Blind Union Asia Pacific Onkyo Braille Essay competition is now open for entries. If you or someone you know is a writer who uses braille, please read the information below and share with your networks. We look forward to receiving your entries by 15 May 2020.
Should you have any questions, please contact Samantha Marsh on 1800 033 660.

About the Contest:

This Braille Essay Contest is made possible through the courtesy and generous financial support of The Onkyo Corporation Ltd. of Japan, a leading manufacturer of quality audio-visual equipment. The Contest is managed by the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific (WBUAP). The Contest is open to all blind and vision-impaired persons from the ages of 14 years and above in the WBUAP Region. However, the Otsuki winners of 2018 and 2019 are not eligible to participate.

The purpose of the contest is to promote Braille literacy and encourage the reading and writing of Braille; and to encourage cultural and social interaction among blind and vision impaired persons through their writings. The top 5 entries will be sent to the WBUAP Onkyo Selection Committee for final consideration, and any winning Australian entries will be published in Blind Citizens News.

This is an annual competition, with cash prizes awarded to the best seven entries received from within the WBU Asia Pacific Region. The main prize, “the Otsuki Prize” is $US 1000. Other prizes are for “Excellent Works” ($US 500) and “Fine Works” (either $US 300 or $US 200) depending on the age group.

Participation in the contest is open to people from 14 years of age, living in the World Blind Union-Asia Pacific Region. Entries are divided into two age groups: persons between the ages of 14 and 25 years; and persons from the age of 26 years upwards.

Essay topics:

  • If Braille is still relevant for the blind today, how and what measures ought to be taken to promote its usage?
  • The people/organisations who have helped me to overcome my blindness and be a useful person.
  • If you were to be given three wishes, what would they be and why?
  • The magic of music and what it means to me.

Closing date is 15 May 2020. Winners will be notified in November 2020.

Essays must be between 700 and 1,000 words and presented in hard copy Braille or in computerized Braille if you can provide proof of your Braille literacy. This can be in the form of a letter from your Braille instructor, teacher or other professional who can vouch for your skills.

When submitting your essay to BCA, you must also provide:
An electronic photo of yourself, a cover letter stating your full name, address, and contact details, your date of birth, your status ie. student, home maker, worker. If a student state what school you are from including the name, address and email contact for your school.

Please submit entries to BCA by 15th May 2020 at:

Attention: Samantha Marsh
Samantha.marsh@bca.org.au
Blind Citizens Australia
Ross House
Level 3, 247-251 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

Covid-19 handwashing advice described for people who are blind

You should wash your hands after going to the toilet, before preparing food and before and after eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, after touching animals, before touching your face, and when you return home after being out.

Basically you want to wash your hands thoroughly using either liquid or bar soap – they both work just as well – for around 20 seconds or as long as it would take to sing Happy Birthday, through twice.

Here are the ten steps to follow:

  1. Turn on the tap and wet your hands. Turn off the tap.
  2. Apply enough soap to cover your hands.
  3. Rub your hands together lengthways palm to palm.
  4. Interlace your fingers and rub your palms together from side to side.
  5. Place your right palm on the back of your left hand, interlacing your fingers and rub your hands up and down against each other lengthways. Repeat with your left palm on the back of your right hand.
  6. To clean your fingertips and nails: point your elbows out to the sides. Hold your left hand in front of you across your body with the palm facing up. Place your right hand palm down on top of your left in the opposite direction. With palms together, slide your hands slowly apart until the tips of your fingers touch the bottom finger joints on the other hand. Roll your fingers in together to make opposite facing interlocking fists, knuckles fitting snugly into the palm of the other hand. Rub the tips and nails of your fingers firmly into the palm and fingers of the other hand.
  7. Clasp your left thumb in your right fist and rotate to clean the thumb including the nail. Repeat with the other thumb.
  8. Clasp your left wrist in your right hand and rotate to wash the whole wrist. Repeat with the other wrist.
  9. Turn the tap back on and rub your hands together firmly under the running water. The friction helps to remove oils and therefore viruses and bacteria.
  10. Shake off excess water and dry your hands on a clean single use towel using firm lengthwise towel strokes. Use the towel to turn off the tap.

The Assistive Technology for All campaign

The Assistive Technology for All campaign has just been launched. An e-petition is the first of a series of actions they have planned for the months ahead.

it would be great if you could take the time to sign the e-petition and encourage your friends, family and supporters to do the same. You can access and complete the e-petition here: sign the e-petition

Welcome to the Be My Guide community!

Hello all

Welcome to the Be My Guide community!

My name is Paul, and I was part of the team at Senses Australia involved in developing Be My Guide. As our community grows, I wanted to acknowledge and thank each of you. I hope that Be My Guide has helped you in one way or another already, and I look forward to supporting you on your journey towards greater independence.

In my day-to-day work, I am an Orientation and Mobility Specialist. I am fortunate to assist blind, deafblind, and vision-impaired people to live a full and independent life. In particular, I teach skills in navigating the environment – knowing where you are (orientation), and getting where you need to go (mobility).

Be My Guide was created to encourage you to increase your confidence and independence in the community. Using video-calling technology, we link you with your most reliable supports – your friends and family, who describe your surroundings in real time, allowing you do what you need to do.

Go here to learn more about how Be My Guide could assist you: Be My Guide YouTube Clip

Senses Australia’s dedicated Sensory Services team supports people who are deaf, blind, or deafblind. Our team of specialists is available to help you or someone you know to develop important life skills and connect with others. Contact us to find out more about how we can support you to feel safe and confident in your community.

I truly hope that Be My Guide has made a difference to you and your family. Please don’t hesitate to reach out, I would be more than happy to assist you to achieve your full potential!

Paul Garwood
Senior Orientation Mobility Instructor
Therapy Services
M: 0413 543 815
E: paul.garwood@senses.org.au

World Braille Day, 4th January 2020

The International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI) joins the United Nations and global disability community in celebrating World Braille Day on Saturday 4th January 2020. This day marks the 211th anniversary of Louis Braille’s birth and his creation at age 15 of a tactile reading and writing system that is called Braille in his honour.

World Braille Day was established by the United Nations in 2019 to raise awareness of the importance of braille in the context of education, freedom of expression and opinion, and social inclusion – see https://www.un.org/en/observances/braille-day The UN emphasises the provision of braille and other accessible forms of communication in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, 2006, Articles 2, 9, 21 and 24).

ICEVI, in partnership with the World Blind Union (WBU), released a Braille Literacy Position Statement in 2016, in recognition of the importance placed on braille in the United Nations CRPD. ICEVI and WBU highlight that “Braille represents competency, independence, and equality…learning to read and write in braille can make a dramatic difference in the life of a visually impaired child or adult”. WBU and ICEVI set out the following four recommendations in the Braille Literacy Position Statement:

  1. We strongly recommend that all blind and severely partially-sighted children be given the opportunity to learn and become proficient in braille reading and writing skills and that they must receive instruction from those who are thoroughly trained and qualified to teach braille.
  2. We strongly recommend that all blind persons have access to a variety of books and publications in braille that are up-to-date and include such materials as textbooks, education support materials, leisure reading materials and materials that support their full and active participation in community life.
  3. While advances in technology enable faster and more efficient production and use of Braille, we recommend that technology should be used to enhance the use of Braille, not to replace it.
  4. We recommend that all governments should ratify the WIPO Marrakesh Treaty which allows for copyright exceptions to facilitate the creation of accessible versions of books and other copyrighted works for visually impaired persons and for the import and export of such materials across national boundaries.

On behalf of ICEVI, I invite you to join us in celebrating World Braille Day on 4th January, and in promoting braille as an essential means of communication and social and educational inclusion for persons with visual impairment.

Dr Frances Gentle, President, ICEVI
AO, PhD, D. Litt. Honoris Causa
Conjoint Lecturer, RIDBC Renwick Centre;
President, International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment (ICEVI);
and Co-President, South Pacific Educators in Vision Impairment (SPEVI)