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Life Skills Days build confidence and independence

November 11, 2021
The Life Skills group standing in front of their bus to transport them to the pottery class. Most are holding their white canes

During the recent school holidays, our Orientation and Mobility Specialists and Occupational Therapists hosted a series of ‘Life Skill Days’ for our under 18 vision services clients.

Our Life Skills Days, formerly hosted as Life Skills Camp, has since the pandemic been converted to a few days during the school holidays. These vital day trips support children and teenagers living with low vision or blindness to work towards their personal goals for improved independence, confidence and wellbeing.

The sessions included two days of exciting excursions around Adelaide, which helped the young students brush up on their skills for navigating busy streets, public transport and unfamiliar places.

On the first day, the students caught a public bus down to West Beach Golf Park for a morning on the driving range with Blind Golf SA. The session gave everyone a great opportunity to practice their coordination and learn a new skill while having a lot of fun!

After working up an appetite from all the golfing, it was back on a public bus to the CBD for lunch at a city food court. Here, the group had to identify, order and pay for their lunches. Our team of Vision Specialists were on hand to assist when needed and provide advice on successfully purchasing food in a busy public setting.

These kinds of activities can be really scary for someone with low vision or blindness, and often, tasks like this might be avoided all together. However, with our friendly team there to support them, we can provide a safe space for the group to try new things.

Following lunch, the students were treated to a tour of the South Australian Museum with a guide who was able to describe the different exhibits in detail and give extra information on the displays. This extra accessible information assisted to stimulate everyone’s imagination of what the display looked like. There were also lots of opportunities for the students to practise walking through groups of people, as well as using touch to identify appropriate exhibits.

The final activity of the day was a self-defence class back at Guide Dogs SA/NT Headquarters with Sharon from YIN Personal Safety Solutions. The students learned how to stand and walk with confidence, how to set and maintain physical boundaries and how to effectively defend themselves, should they ever need to.

Day two had the students travelling further past the city, catching a bus out to Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills. From here, they attended Ink Pot Arts for a ‘clay play’ session. The group followed guided steps from the pottery teacher on how to make their own pinch pots. This was a great opportunity to get their hands dirty and use their sense of touch to unleash a creative side.

The next stop was the highly anticipated Melba’s Chocolate Factory for a tour. The group was led through the facilities and experienced another opportunity to practise their shopping skills. The group needed to rely on not only their sense of touch but their sense of smell to identify the chocolates and sweets they wanted to buy.

After a delicious sugar hit, the group made their final stop for the day at Gorge Wildlife Park in Cudlee Creek. The group were treated to a private session with the keepers, where they were able to touch a variety of different native and non-native animals. Doing this gave them the opportunity to gauge a variety of animals’ size, shape, feel and in some cases smell. The park’s kangaroo population were very happy to welcome the group into their enclosure for treats and pats!

Overall a fantastic time was had by everyone! Lots of skills and friendships had an opportunity to grow and each person got to take home some extra confidence in everyday life situations.

If you know someone who might benefit from joining our Life Skills Sessions, or you want to learn more about the services we offer, contact us at info@guidedogs.org.au.



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