Guide Dogs. State Braille and Large Print Services donated the wonderful braille books we gave as prizes. Donations to our popular raffle were extremely well supported. The Braille Marking Committee should be commended for all their hard work in organising such a wonderfulevent.We are looking forward to another exciting year for the Sydney Braille Forum in 2017. Our first guest speaker will be Galiema Gool, winner of the Premier IOOF Centre for Educational and Medical Research Itinerant Support Teacher (Vision) Scholarship. Her research topic was “Tactile Graphics” – how to navigate your way through all the visuals in the Australian curriculum, colour, graphs, pictures and diagrams and how to provide equitable access.Sandra RobertsonConvenor – Sydney Braille ForumQueensland Regional Braille ForumOur meetings are open to school aged students from prep onwards, who use braille in any form.This may be as their primary medium for learning, or it may be as a secondary medium in preparation for possible further vision loss. Most of our clubs, conducted once a term, are held at Braille House, home of the Queensland Braille Writing Association, but we are also not afraid to take braille to the streets or to other locations.Just as the conference was happening last year, our clubbers were having a craft day ready for Mother’s Day. They made cards for their mums and engaged in some of their favourite games, Human Braille Cell and Buzz Braille, (a game invented by Julee-anne Bell). Our forum meeting, in July, resulted in a change of direction with Julee-anne taking over the roles of Convenor and Secretary to ensure the smooth running and sustainability of the forum. Our Braille Club, held straight after this meeting, started with a tour of the braille library to encourage the children to borrow books. We also had a great presentation from a childrens’ author who read us a story while we provided musical sound effects to enhance the action. We then had a session of braille music where we chatted about braille music camp and did some basic rhythm work and learning a canon or two under the direction of Julee-anne Bell.7
Our last Braille Club for 2016 was our greatest adventure yet. Our goal was to walk from Braille House to Hungry Jacks to buy our lunch. We then walked back to Braille House and made a map of our journey. Karen Clark from the alternative format library worked extensively with Hungry Jacks staff to create a braille menu for the children to peruse and make their lunch selections. The map making was also facilitated by Karen, who had the children make practice maps on baking trays with magnetic building blocks before transferring their creations onto boards using stick on foam pieces. These ideas came from the O&Ms at Narbethong to whom we are very grateful. It should be noted that all students used long canes and sighted assistance was kept to a minimum both with ordering lunch and during the travel route.