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A visit to the Kimberleys

Senses Australia’s Deafblind Consultants, Karen Wickham and Angela Wills travelled to the Kimberley region of Western Australia recently to hold training workshops.

“Staff from agencies working in disability, aged care and education sectors in Kununurra, Halls Creek and Broome took part in our workshops that provided information and an introduction to deafblindness,” says Angela.  “The training was positively received with requests that we return to provide more in depth training on deafblindenss.”

Training highlighted the difficulties experienced by people who are deafbolind or have dual sensory loss.  Deafblindness causes social isolation that can lead to depression and more serious mental health issues when appropriate support is not provided.

“Our conversations with those who took part in the training highlighted the need for a different approach for people from indigenous communities who may be experiencing difficulties as a result of dual sensory loss,” says Angela.

“Participants were asked what they found useful from training sessions, their responses were very positive,” says Angela.

Feedback received from participants in regards to what was helpful and useful included:
“The activity using the eye masks and ear plugs were great.”
“The simulation – how it feels to be deafblind.”
“Strategies to assist people with dual sensory loss.”
“Wish it was a whole day session, great information.”
“Techniques for communication.”
“Learning about different levels of hearing and vision impairment.”
“Developing an understanding of what people with sensory loss experience and how I need to factor this into the classroom.”

Senses Australia’s deafblind consultants are available to provide advice and guidance to professionals and support staff working with and supporting people who are affected by deafblindness.