Many Tasmanians experience a loss or reduction in vision at some point in their life. This may be temporary or permanent. If vision loss is impacting on your daily life, our services are here to help you. Our Mission is to provide high quality, professional services that increase independence and quality of life for Tasmanians who are blind or vision impaired, and to support them to achieve their full potential within their community.
When offered services from Royal Guide Dogs Tasmania, many people will think, “I don’t need a Guide Dog, why would I need to go to Royal Guide Dogs Tasmania?”
Guide Dogs are a vital component of our services, however, they are also just the tip of the iceberg in relation to our services. Royal Guide Dogs Tasmania provides a broad range of low vision services for people with varying degrees of vision, including total blindness.
Challenges in daily life as a result of vision loss may include having trouble getting around safely (Mobility) or living independently (Lifeskills). Perhaps it is difficult to use a telephone, make a cup of tea safely, recognise people you know, tell the time, see the buttons on a microwave or read a book.
Our staff work with clients to ensure that in those areas where they would like to be more independent, they can be. We all need assistance at times and our services can help develop skills to manage practical needs, and in turn, grow a sense of social and emotional wellbeing.
Everyday we perform a vast amount of activities that are essential for day-to-day living, including dressing, preparing food, eating, cleaning, reading and writing. Vision impairment can impact on all of these activities, making them more time consuming, difficult, and sometimes even potentially dangerous. Many people lose confidence with these activities and become anxious that they may never be able to manage them. An RGDT Life Skills program can assist people to perform these activities again (or perhaps for the first time) with safety, dignity and efficiency, often with the aid of specialised equipment. Programs are conducted within the home, community or work environment.
‘Orientation’ refers to our understanding of where we are currently located in the environment, in relation to where we have travelled from and where we would like to travel. We use our senses to gather information from around us and combine this information with our knowledge of where we have come from and where we plan to go.
‘Mobility’ relates to our ability to move safely and confidently through the environment. This will often incorporate the use of mobility aids, including sighted assistance, a white cane, or a guide dog.
Orientation and Mobility (O&M) training equips people who are vision impaired to move safely, independently, efficiently and confidently in the environments through which they wish to travel. It is so much more than simply learning to use a white cane or to cross roads.
O&M Specialist are able to provide a consultancy service to professionals, councils, employers and the general public on all aspects of O&M, as well as physical access for people who are blind or vision impaired.
As with all RGDT services, referrals are accepted from health professionals, family members or directly from individuals themselves. The person’s consent is required before a referral can be accepted. Services are provided free of charge to the client, however, fee for service may be sought from Department of Veterans Affairs, MAIB or other organisations where necessary.
Many people will instantly recognise our Guide Dog Puppies and their 'L' Plates; however, some people may not be aware of what is involved in providing a Guide Dog for a person who is blind or vision impaired. It takes a lot of effort to train each Guide Dog and there are many people that contribute to the success of every Guide Dog trained in Tasmania.
There are five major facets of our Guide Dog Program:
The aim of the Low Vision Clinic (LVC) is to maximise the use of any remaining vision. It is not a diagnostic clinic so you still need to visit your regular optometrist / ophthalmologist for eye health examinations or for treatment.
At the LVC, a wide range of low vision equipment is available for trial and purchase including optical and video magnifiers and glare reduction glasses. In consultation with the optometrist, the most appropriate aid will be determined; partly by your eye condition, your level of remaining vision and by the types of visual tasks you would like to be able to perform. You will also be provided with advice regarding strategies for reducing glare, improving task lighting, maximising the use of your remaining vision, and using the prescribed equipment. Referral for other RGDT services will also be offered to all clients.
The northern Tasmania, the Lions Low Vision Clinic is located at Royal Guide Dogs Tasmania's Launceston Office.
In southern Tasmania, the Lions Low Vision Clinic is located at the Royal Hobart Hospital.
Royal Guide Dogs Tasmania (RGDT) aims to enable and empower families of children who are blind or vision impaired by providing information, resources, support and training. Services support the development of life skills so that children and adolescents may become self-determined adults who can make choices about career, study, family and leisure.
Statewide services are offered to families and delivered in the home, educational or community setting.
RGDT believes families are pivotal in the life of child who is blind or vision impaired and that early intervention is vital in establishing independence, confidence and development.