The NDIS and Guide Dogs NSW/ACT

 Image shows a person walking with a guide dog.

Wednesday 27 April marks International Guide Dog Day. We invited Guide Dogs NSW/ACT CEO, Dr Graeme White, to discuss the positive change the NDIS will bring to people who are blind or vision impaired.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) offers a significant advancement in the provision of disability support, training and services for people who are blind or vision impaired.

As a registered NDIS service provider, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT has been providing assistance to people who are blind or vision impaired in the Hunter and the ACT where the NDIS rollout is underway.

Personally, as CEO, this has allowed me to witness the positive change the NDIS is bringing to people and the way that supports enable them to get to school, university, work, sport, social events or wherever they need to go, safely and independently.

A great example of the positive change of the NDIS is from Cathryn Gilewski, a client in the Hunter region. In Cathryn’s own words:

“I was so used to not doing anything… and having no control over my choices. So I didn’t dream of anything. Whereas now, I’m thinking I might be able to get out and bush walk again. I might be able to go to a medical appointment when it is made for me and not have to wait for my husband to get a day off.”

While Cathryn has gained more choice and control over her life through the NDIS, the Scheme represents an enormous change for many people, so we have been actively assisting participants to transition to the Scheme as quickly and easily as possible.

To do this we’ve held NDIS information sessions to build readiness, and our Orientation and Mobility Specialists have used their knowledge of supports to help participants who are blind or vision impaired with their NDIS planning.

The feedback has been great – like from Canberra-based Leonie Pye, who said she was having trouble understanding the NDIS and what she needed to do:

 “I was feeling anxious about the NDIS, so I contacted Guide Dogs and organised a one-on-one meeting. They helped me by sitting down with me and explaining the details around the NDIS and what I needed to do.”

As the NDIS rolls out across NSW and the ACT we will continue to support our clients and to remind people that while vision loss can be challenging, with the right supports it doesn’t have to limit people’s independence.

For more information on Guide Dogs, visit www.guidedogs.com.au or call (02) 9412 9300.