A helping hand in Sydney

Kids with vision-loss learn to use assistance facilities on Sydney’s sprawling bus network

A group of visually-impaired children enjoyed a tour of the Sydney bus network and taught how to use public transport safely this month.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT school holiday program helps give participants a greater sense of independence and the skills to get around the city unassisted.

The organisations’ mobility instructor Jennifer Jedovnicky says, although the children may not be catching buses by themselves immediately, the program prepared them for the future.

"It’s all about giving them independence and having the skills and confidence to catch public transport is a component of this," she says.

"The program also gives the children the opportunity to socialise and share experiences about having low vision and what works best for them."

The children visited a train and bus station first, which gave them a chance to get accustomed to the on-board facilities designed to assist them.

They then used their new skills to catch a train and bus to visit Featherdale Wildlife Park on the second day.

Participants also spoke to public transport staff, trained in disability awareness about how they can assist people with vision impairment.

While training guide dogs is an important part of what Guide Dogs NSW/ACT do; it also helps show people with impaired vision how to move through different environments safely.

The organisation supports children with vision impairment and their families, by helping them learn how to participate freely in everyday activities at school, home and in the community.

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