Educating staff on the difficulties experienced by the vision impaired

 Pascal the guide dog.
Pascal the guide dog.

This week MidCoast Council staff members experienced firsthand what it was like to get around council facilities without the use of their eyes in simulation exercises with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, using a white cane mobility aid or a guide dog.

"The Walk My Way workshop is designed to educate staff on what it can be like for people living with low vision and blindness to access the community and how to provide assistance if required," MidCoast Council community services acting manager, Chris Jones said.

"The most effective way to really understand another person's experience is to live it - and the objective of these workshops is to provide that insight for key members of our workforce.

"MidCoast Council's disability inclusion action plan is part of our commitment to ensuring inclusivity and access for all members of our community.

"Events like this further develop our education and awareness and we hope will lead to better experiences for people living with low vision and blindness on the Mid Coast."

During the workshops, up to 120 council staff walked with simulation goggles using a guide dog or white cane mobility aid, and a human guide, with support and guidance from Guide Dogs staff.

The workshops took place to mark International White Cane Day,Thursday, October 15, a project which aims to educate the world about the experiences of people with low vision and blindness and to celebrate their abilities, successes and contributions to their communities.

Guide Dogs provides dogs, orientation and mobility services that enable people with low vision or blindness to get around their communities safely and independently.