[access-uk] Re: Orientation & Mobility and other independent living training for blind people in England (and other countries represented on this list)

Hi Jackie,

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, and I'm glad they've been so
positive. My last instructor I had last year is very nice (originally from
England), but the service over here is not well resourced/managed, and it's
not uncommon to be waiting for several weeks to get mobility in the first
place. I was hoping to try out a Trekker Breeze too, but someone else was
using the only one the Association for the Blind had. I did try out the
Trekker a few years ago at a technology expo held at the Association for the
Blind, before the Breeze even came out, but I found it a pain navigating such a small keypad and was leaning
more towards the BrailleNote GPS, which I also had a go at, but in both
cases it was only virtual exploration, as there was noone available to demo
them outdoors. I have a BrailleNote Classic and would have to upgrade to one
of the models which supports the GPS. I don't have an iPhone, but it would be nice if a version of the BrailleNote GPs, or an equivalent product, were developed for the iPhone. Any way, thank you again for your reply, and I've read with geat interest your posts and those of others on the list about Braille displays and employment of blind people in these technology companies. Braille-related services are pretty poorly resourced over here, and this really comes to the fore when simply trying to find someone to demo a Braille display, let alone getting specific training on its use with a screenreader, as opposed to just the screenreader with its speech functionality.

Kind regards
Vivien
----- Original Message ----- From: "Jackie Cairns" <jackie.cairnsplace@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, November 08, 2010 9:10 PM
Subject: [access-uk] Re: Orientation & Mobility and other independent living
training for blind people in England (and other countries represented on
this list)


Hi Vivien

I can only speak for my own experiences, which have all been so positive
and
great fun.

I moved to Northern Ireland in May of this year, and the Rehab Officer who
carries out orientation and mobility in this area is called Mark.  Not
only
does he have an amazing and twisted sense of humour that I love, but he
has
been fantastic at teaching me my way around the village.  Maghera where I
live is not a large place, and we live on the outskirts of the village
itself.  But Mark initially came twice a week to give me orientation, and
he
comes back every time I want to learn a new route.  My partner, Martin,
has
also been great at helping me around so that I can go for walks and
maintain
my independence.  In the short time I have lived here, I have been to the
shops on my own several times and felt comfortable about doing this with a
long cane.  And people are so friendly in these parts that a lot of them
speak whether I know them or not which is very nice.

Prior to living here, I lived in Northampton for two years, and also had
good orientation and mobility from a Rehab Officer in that area, despite
it
being much larger.  All my experiences, I have to say, have been positive.
The Officers I've worked with say it's just my attitude to wanting to get
about, even though I have a chronic back problem and find it so painful
now.
But I've had  nothing but praise for everyone who has assisted me, and
I've
thoroughly enjoyed the walks and routes I have had to map in my head.  In
fact, Mark came last week to show me the route to the Post Office which
has
been relocated in the supermarket.  He was on top form, it was pissing
with
rain, but we had such a laugh I thought it was brill!

A Rehab Officer for Guide Dogs has also lent me a Trekker Breeze to try
out
for a while, and this too has been absolutely fantastic.  No you can't do
postcode searches or anything too fancy, but it's great to shove it in
your
pocket, create a route and start walking.  When you get to your
destination,
you terminate the route, but you can back-track on the return journey, and
it points out any landmarks you've made.  My experiences have been so
positive I just can't begin to tell you how great it's been.

Kind Regards,

Jackie Cairns
J&M Work-Ability

jandm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
www.work-ability.co.uk
-----Original Message-----
From: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf
Of
Vivien Palcic
Sent: 08 November 2010 12:37
To: access-uk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [access-uk] Orientation & Mobility and other independent living
training for blind people in England (and other countries represented on
this list)

Hi list,

I would be interested to know how good (or otherwise) O&M training and
other
independent living skills is in England and/or other countries represented
on this list. I know all too well the typical scenario of being put on a
waiting list and then, when one is finally attended to, one is lucky to
get
twice a week mobility training (I'm in Australia). I would be interested
to
know what the situation is like for you people - eg how long would one
normally expect to wait for O&M, and how many hours a week would one
receive? And are mobility instructors in your country making use of modern
aids such as GPS for the blind, or is this something which only happens if
and when the client has access to their own device?

Regards
Vivien

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