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What type of services and supports are available from Providers?

Support can be provided by a different people in your plan. Supports are not purely based on diagnosis. For example two people with the same level of vision impairment may access quite different services. Supports may vary depending on your goals and functional need.

You have choice and control on where and how your supports are provided.

You may choose to access orientation and mobility training to improve independent travel. However, another person may choose to utilise a support worker to assist with getting to places.

Here is a range of supports you may want to access with an explanation about what they do. These supports are available through a range of providers.

  • Accessible Information
  • Assistive Technology
  • Guide Dogs and Therapy Dogs
  • Leisure, Sport and Recreation
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • Orthoptic / Low Vision Specialists
  • Physiotherapy
  • Psychology
  • Speech Pathology
  • Social Work

Please note that not all providers offer these.

In Western Australia there are several providers that offer specialised supports to people with a vision impairment:

For more details about providers in Western Australia see these links on the NDIS website:

Department of Communities Disability Services has provided a service provider search tool which will allow individuals, families, and carers to identify registered services and supports for people with disability in their locality, that is, region, suburb or town in Western Australia. You can access the search tool on this website: search-tool.disability.wa.gov.au

Accessible Information / Alternate Formats Services

These services can make printed information in a format you can use. These formats could include large print, Braille, audio or ePub. The types of item include:

  • Cook books
  • Vocational materials
  • Bus and train timetables
  • Greeting cards for a friend or relative who is vision impaired
  • Children’s story books

These services also produce tactile maps, diagrams, and adhesive Braille labels. For example, you may want to consider Braille labels on items in your home in your kitchen pantry or bathroom. Some use the same Braille labels in children’s books so they and someone without a vision impairment can read a book together.

Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Consultants can help you identify and learn to use aids and equipment to assist you with day-to-day activities in your home, community or workplace such as:

  • Reading and writing
  • Telling the time
  • Managing your money
  • Cooking and eating
  • Finding your way
  • Using your computer, tablet, or mobile phone

Video caption: About Assistive Technology

Guide Dogs

A Guide Dog is a specially trained dog that can provide safety, mobility and independence to someone living with a vision impairment.

A Guide Dog can help by:

  • Overcoming physical obstacles
  • Stopping when there’s a change in surface level such as a kerb or set of stairs
  • Locating doors, seats, pedestrian buttons at traffic lights
  • Locating and negotiating regular routes and destinations e.g. the Post Office
  • Giving someone the confidence to leave the house on their own
  • Giving someone the ability to use public transport to maintain employment

In Western Australia you do not have to be totally blind to receive a Guide Dog, but if the following eligibility criteria is met, then you can apply:

  • At least 16 years of age
  • Are classed as legally blind
  • Are a resident of Western Australia

Autism Assistance Dogs

Autism Assistance Dogs offer families a number of benefits, the most important being safety. This is achieved by providing a fully trained dog, along with training and support for parents and their child.

An Autism Assistance Dog (ADD) has the same public access rights as a Guide Dog.

The eligibility criteria for an AAD are children aged between 3-8 years with a confirmed diagnosis of Autism with the following behaviours:

  • A severe deficit in verbal and non-verbal communication skills
  • A severe impairment in functioning
  • Limited to nil social interaction ability
  • Severe repetitive behaviours
  • Frequent ‘bolting’ or absconding tendencies

Therapy and Companion Dogs

Therapy and companion dogs are trained to provide affection and comfort to children, at-risk-youth, adults and seniors in a wide variety of formal and informal therapeutic settings. Each therapy or companion dog acts as a bridge between the person and the rest of the world. Research demonstrates that therapy and companion dogs reduce stress levels and increase daily successes for children and adults in school, work and therapeutic contexts. They also provide friendship, fun and help with social inclusion.

For more information visit the Guide Dogs WA website.

Leisure, Sport and Recreation

Consultants in this area provide support to form friendships, get involved and improve your health and wellbeing. This could be through creative and sensory activities, fully equipped gyms, or access a wide range of talking books and Braille. Through this type of service you can:

  • Stay healthy and active
  • Make friends and be more social
  • Be involved in the community

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists (OT) provide support and training in daily living skills ranging from household management to personal care. They can allow you to complete tasks more easily in all parts of your life at home, work and in the community such as:

  • Cooking
  • Using technology to work or play
  • Travelling wherever you want to go
  • Being out and about
  • Forming friendships and meeting people

Occupational therapists work with people of all ages. OT for young children can support the development of milestones, play skills, fine motor skills and self-help skills such as mealtimes, toileting, dressing etc.

Video caption: About Occupational Therapy

Orientation and Mobility

Orientation and Mobility (O&M) Specialists can assist you to:

  • Move confidently through space
  • Make best use of remaining vision and other senses to find your way
  • Find the safest travel routes to specific destinations such as shops, work, the doctor, gym, school or university
  • Cross the road safely and independently
  • Travel on buses and trains
  • Use the most appropriate mobility aid to meet your needs
  • Develop skills for self-orientation, including echolocation
  • Receive help and support to access the community

O&M specialists working with young children teach concepts such as directions, body awareness, associating rooms with functions.

Video caption: About Orientation and Mobility

Orthoptic / Low Vision Specialists

Orthoptists / Low Vision Specialists can assess your vision and prescribe equipment such as magnifiers and lighting to assist with reading, craft and watching TV.

They can support you whether you have minor vision impairment or significant vision loss. Orthoptics can also complete functional vision assessments to provide valuable information on how to maximise your remaining.

Video caption: About Orthoptics

Physiotherapy

Physiotherapists support children to actively participate and build independence in movement skills such as sitting to play, moving between positions (such as from lying to sitting; and walking around their environment). Physiotherapists support parents and caregivers with strategies for positioning, carrying and encouraging their child’s overall motor development

They also focus fitness, and skills required for your recreation and chosen sports.

For some people specialised equipment may be considered to support their development, position or mobility. Examples include orthotics (shoe inserts), walking frames, wheelchairs and recreational equipment such as bike modifications.

Video caption: About Physiotherapy

Psychology

Psychologists can provide counselling related to specific vision impairment issues.

Psychologists may also be available to help if there are some concerns about a child’s developmental, emotional well-being, behaviour and/or difficulties within the family.

Video caption: About Psychology

Speech Pathology / Speech Therapy

Speech Pathologists help you learn skills to communicate.

They also help learn social skills and provide support with difficulties in eating and drinking. Sometimes alternative methods of communicating, such as using signs or a communication board or specialised devices, will be recommended to assist in the development of communication skills. Information and support is given to families on how to encourage their child to communicate or talk.

Video caption: About Speech Pathology

Social Work

Social Workers and Family System Therapists provide counselling and support for you and your family. They can provide information to understand services and supports available and help in finding the most appropriate services.

They can also provide information for those who wish to meet others with similar experiences.

Video caption: About Social Work