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Insights Autumn 2024

March 15, 2024

Welcome to the Autumn edition of Insights, Guide Dogs SA/NT’s client newsletter. We hope you enjoy keeping up to date on what’s happening in our community and reading the wonderful stories and tips below.


In This Newsletter

Access rights in SA
Puppy Raisers wanted
Do you have a Companion Card yet?
Client story, Maree Colbert
How audio description can help enrich your world
Guide Dogs SA/NT upcoming events
Adelaide Festival, audio described performances
The Pet Show is coming to Adelaide
Cyber safety tips and tricks
Order of Australia Medal awarded to Dr David Squirrell

Access rights in SA

One of our roles at Guide Dogs SA/NT is to advocate for our community and to help project the voices of those asking for better access rights, assistance dog identification, and support outside of the NDIS, while increasing inclusion and social and economic participation. We want to ensure our community has fair access to public transport and ride shares, to community infrastructure, festivals, events and more.

We work alongside the South Australian Minister for Human Services, Nat Cook, Commissioner for Equal Opportunities, Jodeen Carney, and other peak organisations. We not only discuss barriers, we also work on solutions to overcome any hurdles along the way.

Safer spaces for those aided by assistance dogs are essential, including the need for unified and clear accreditation for trained Guide Dogs, Assistance Dogs and Facility Dogs.

Refusal to those with disabilities cannot continue in our community, and together with government and sector leaders we are working on solutions.

If you would like to find out more about access rights in South Australia, click on the button below.

Learn about access rights

If you believe you have experienced unlawful discrimination, you can make a complaint on the ‘We’re Equal SA’ website.

Click here to make a complaint


Puppy Raisers wanted

Do you know someone on Yorke Peninsula who might be able to offer a puppy-in-training a loving home as they get ready for their life-changing career?

For the first time, we are looking for puppy raisers outside of Adelaide! You must be aged over 18, have a driver’s license, the strength to handle a dog that will grow to weigh more than 30kg, be able to socialise the puppy in public environments, attending local training sessions, ensuring puppies is not left alone for more than four hours at a time.

Homes also need to fit certain criteria, including, having a secure yard with adequate fencing and ensuring the puppy can sleep inside. To view the full criteria, click the button below.

People based around Wallaroo, Moonta, Port Hughes and Kadina can also register their interest on our website

Register your interest in becoming a Puppy Raiser


Do you have a Companion Card yet?

The South Australian and Northern Territory governments’ Companion Cards have been created to ensure that people living with significant and permanent disability can have a support person with them when attending events and other activities, such as going to the cinema, concerts and festivals.

When a cardholder buys a ticket at participating venues in South Australia and the Northern Territory, their companion or carer will be granted free entry.

When applying for a Companion Card, clients must ask their doctor or an allied health professional or social worker to support and complete their application form and sign the back of two passport-sized photos.

If you’re in South Australia, you can apply for a companion card by clicking on the button below or via email:

Apply for a South Australia Companion Card here

If you’re in the Northern Territory, click here to apply


Client story, Maree Colbert

When Maree Colbert started losing her eyesight with retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary condition which causes loss of vision, she went through stages of grief at what could lie ahead.

Growing up afraid of the dark and sleeping with a light on, even as an adult, vision loss was the worst affliction she could imagine. But support from Guide Dogs SA/NT has helped her to move on from her grieving and to overcome her anxiety and fear, including giving her the confidence to go out with her husband at night and to travel.

“I was going to places and running into things, and my Guide Dogs Orientation and Mobility Instructor has given me something which I hold on my wrist which buzzes if there’s something in front of me, that made going out at night much safer and easier. She’s helped me in the kitchen and when I lost my sight she helped me with my phone, catching the bus and using a cane”. Maree said.

“The whole process and support and understanding of someone who’s blind, Guide Dogs has been got me through some tough times. You guys don’t realise how much help it is to have Guide Dogs SA/NT support when you’re going through this, it’s horrific, especially if you’re afraid of the dark. I’ve overcome my fears by listening and knowing there are people worse off, and I have a wonderful husband and friends to support me.”

Maree has appreciated the support she has received, particularly with kitchen new safety measures and supports implemented, following some cooking-related incidents. As an avid reader, she’s thrilled to have also just received a device which magnifies text in books which can also read out loud when she’s tired.

“I feel very, very blessed,” she said. “I really appreciate the support from Guide Dogs SA/NT.”

Would you like to be included in our next newsletter? Please contact Salina on (08) 8203 8347 or email, or contact Simon on (08) 8203 8334 or email and share what you have been up to.


How audio description can help enrich your world

Attending live theatre or going to the cinema can sometimes feel like you’re missing half the story when you live with low vision or blindness, but audio description can change this for the better.

During moments of silent action, audio description become your eyes, detailing essential unspoken emotions.

Audio description is akin to listening to a captivating audiobook interwoven with the live performance, where every gesture and costume adds depth to the narrative. More than just filling in the visual gaps, it can unlock hidden layers of the production. To many, this newfound access elevates the theatre experience to a whole new level, transforming it from a fragmented glimpse into a fully immersive journey.

Audio description is available for some ABC programs, movies in cinemas (with an AD tag), mainstream videos and many state theatre shows.

For further information about audio description, click here


Guide Dogs SA/NT Upcoming Events

April School Holiday Sessions

Calling all adventure seekers! Join us on April 23rd and 24th for an action-packed School Holiday Session extravaganza.

Kicking things off, we will dive into the world of emergency services. Experience the thrill of a fire truck visit, meet real-life heroes and discover the abilities and knowledge needed to handle emergencies, from basic first aid to quick thinking in critical situations.

Next up, we will test our train-catching skills at the Adelaide Railway Station. You will have the opportunity to become a confident train-traveller and learn some new tips and tricks. But that’s not all, we have a top-secret treasure hunt planned, you will have to wait to find out more details about that one!

What better way to finish things off than with an escape room! This challenge will test your teamwork and problem-solving skills. Can you help the team escape before the timer runs out?

Students aged between 12 and 18 years old from across South Australia and the Northern Territory are invited to participate. Places are limited and the expression of interest period closes Monday April 8th, so make sure to register early to secure your spot.

Click the link below to register. Please note that lodging an expression of interest does not result in an automatic placement for our school holiday sessions and attendance will be required for the full two days.

If you are a client residing in a regional location, please contact us to discuss how attendance could be arranged.

If you have questions, please contact Salina by calling 1800 757 738 or emailing

Click here to register

Social Happy Hour – Mastering your Smartphone
Join us for our April social happy hour sessions, where we will explore accessibility features on smartphones and how we can make the most of our phones and devices. We’ll also explore productivity and accessibility-enhancing apps, and work together in a group activity to share tips and tricks to maximise your smartphone experience.

Android and iPhone accessibility features
Fri 05 April, 2024 11:00 am
Unlock the full potential of your smartphone with a tutorial on accessibility features for both Android and iPhone. This online session includes hands-on practice, ensuring you can navigate your device with ease.

Click here to register

Making the most out of your smartphone
Fri 19 April, 2024 11:00 am
Explore productivity and accessibility-enhancing apps available for download on your smartphone and share tips and tricks for maximizing your smartphone experience with other group members

Click here to register

Empowered Living Program
The Empowered Living Program is a new skill development and education program designed for people who have recently experienced vision loss or blindness.

Through a series of Empowered Living Program sessions, you’ll learn useful tricks, techniques and find out about equipment which can help you maintain your independence and feel safer at home or in the community.

Join us for our May Empowered Living Program session, where you can learn simple adaptations to make life easier in your home, explore apps for reading and navigation, and get practical tips for personal grooming.

To learn more about our programs or express your interest, please contact Simon or Salina on 1800 757 738.

Adelaide Festival, audio described perfomances

Marrow, Australian Dance Theatre
Marrow is a clear-eyed and powerful work that sifts through the smoky forms of our national conscience to imagine a new future that acknowledges the push of our present moment.

Learn more here

Time Machine, Her Majesty’s Theatre
Time Machine is an exhilarating work of physics and force, dance and Extreme Action that will entertain audiences of all ages.

Learn more here

Blue, Scott Theatre
An outstanding first play by rising star Thomas Weatherall, Blue dives deep into the beauty, joy and pain of growing up.

Learn more here


The Pet Show is coming to Adelaide

For those who are pets lovers, the Pet show is a must! The event is all about positive pet parenting, sharing education, entertainment, and products for all pets from scales to tails and everything in between. Some of the attractions are:

• Bluey and Bingo live interactive experience on stage
• The Wonderdogs demonstrations and Meet and Greet
• Celebrities and Presenters
• Dog Arena demonstrations
• Scales and Tails touch zone
• Meet the breeds
• Products to try and buy
• Face Painting and lots of Fun Activities
• Food trucks and more…

Guide Dogs SA/NT will be at the event, raising awareness of our life-changing work and selling our very special products. You can’t miss out! 18 to 19 May at the Adelaide Showground.

Learn more here


Cyber safety tips and tricks

As part of our February Social Happy Hour session we discussed “protecting yourself from scams and cyber safety”. Some of these tips could be quite helpful, and we encourage you to consider how they may help you to be safer online:

• Be cautious when opening emails from someone you don’t recognise and don’t click on any links or open attachments if you’re suspicious.
• Consider adding tactile markers like tape or bump dots to your visa or credit card for easy identification.
• Routinely change passwords – never use the same password multiple times.
• Be careful which permissions you grant to apps. Consider the purpose of the app and if you really need to provide the personal information it is asking for. For example, when you install Seeing AI (an app for reading text, identifying products and objects), it will ask for access to your camera and your photos. This is a legitimate use of permissions. However, a shopping app for example, does not need access to your contacts.


Order of Australia Medal awarded to Dr David Squirrell

Dr David Squirrell first noticed he was losing his hearing when he was 32, followed by his vision six years later. With a genetic condition leading to further loss of hearing and vision, Dr Squirrell carried on, forging a medical career focused on lifelong learning, teaching and helping others across regional South Australia and southern Adelaide.

When Dr Squirrell was unable to continue his medical career due to visual and hearing impairments, he embarked on a life of advocacy, serving on more than 20 government committees as a consultant on sensory loss and its implications. For his 20 years of community involvement and 16 years working for the vision and hearing impaired, Dr Squirrell was awarded an Order of Australia Medal earlier this year.

He is the first vision and hearing-impaired person to be awarded an OAM! Now aged 68 and a Guide Dogs SA/NT client, the highly respected Dr Squirrell has appreciated being able to advocate for the rights of the vision and hearing impaired, and has been at the forefront of improving accessibility.

“It’s a humbling experience, it has been an interesting journey where a number of people have recognised the input I’ve been blessed with delivering, but there’s so much more that needs to be done because the system works against you”. Dr Squirrell said.

“I’m lucky that I’m articulate but a number of people who are deaf and blind who don’t have the experience that I’ve had find it more difficult to put forward an argument at a policy level. I am grateful to be able to help where I can.”

We congratulate Dr David Squirrel for his achievements and outstanding advocacy support for the community.


Would you like to be included in our next newsletter?

Please contact Salina on (08) 8203 8347 or email, or contact Simon on (08) 8203 8334 or email and share what you have been up to.


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