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How Steven lives with deafblindness

Sustainability

Posted on October 25, 2013

2 min read

Steven Hellier suffers from Usher Syndrome, a major cause of deafblindness which is a combination of deafness from birth and late onset retinita pigmentosa, a deteriorating eye condition, more generally known as tunnel vision.

People with Usher Syndrome Type 1, grow up within the deaf community and use Auslan (Australian Sign Language) as their main form of communication which they modify as their vision worsens, by firstly reducing their signing space and then by using tactile Auslan, where they read the signs with their hands. Many people with Usher Syndrome are fortunate to retain a small amount of vision into their fifties and they use this vision very effectively to enable them to continue to live full and independent lives.

Steven’s deafness causes serious balance issues so he uses a walking frame to provide stability. He lives in his own home in Adelaide and has a large network of friends that he stays in contact with via email and Facebook. He travels to America each year to attend a deafblind camp in Seattle and he travels to Melbourne regularly to participate in recreational events for the deafblind community. When in Melbourne he always attends digital literacy training at Ablelink, a training centre and digital literacy program supported by Telstra and Able Australia. (more…)

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Living with Usher Syndrome… Daryl’s story

Sustainability

Posted on September 16, 2013

4 min read

Meet Daryl Harrison. He was born deaf and now in his late forties, he is learning to live with “Ushers”.

Usher Syndrome is a major cause of deafblindness and is a combination of deafness from birth and late onset retina pigmentosa, a deteriorating eye condition, more generally known as tunnel vision. Usher syndrome is categorised into three broad groups according to the type and severity of symptoms. There is no cure. Services aim to help the person prepare for and cope with the dual loss of sight and hearing1. (more…)

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Digital Literacy case study: Update on Telstra & Able Australia’s partnership

Telstra Foundation

Posted on June 21, 2013

3 min read

Michael is a 50 year old man who has no vision or hearing. He was born with some vision but lost this in his teenage years. Michael loves water sports, is a keen swimmer and won a Gold Medal in Hong Kong when he was twenty. He also enjoyed family holidays on Lake Eildon where he learned to water-ski. (more…)

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Giving the deafblind a new lease on life

Sustainability

Posted on April 18, 2013

3 min read

Gina is a very young person in her late fifties. She is the only deaf member of a big Italian family and learning English was very difficult for her when growing up. She communicates using sign language with her deaf friends.

(more…)

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Giving the deafblind a voice

Telstra Foundation

Posted on January 8, 2013

2 min read

On 3 December, International Day of People with Disability, Telstra and Able Australia launched a partnership to help connect the deafblind community to smart phones and tablets using braille devices and a range of solutions for low vision.

Able Australia will work closely with people who are deafblind, like Heather and Allan (seen in the video below) , teaching them to use the technology that will best meet their needs.  Currently, iPhones and iPads can be accessed with magnification or braille, to facilitate communication using email, SMS, Facebook, Twitter, text and video messaging.  The partnership will provide an opportunity to investigate accessibility solutions and training options for a range of tablets and smart phones.

(more…)

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