Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children
Annual Report 2016

The First National Curriculum in Auslan Launches Across Australia

Following ministerial endorsement in December 2016, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) officially published Australia’s first curriculum in Auslan. The national Auslan curriculum is a major step forward for inclusion and equality of deaf students in mainstream schools. There are two pathways for teaching Auslan in schools: the first pathway is for those children who use Auslan as their first language to access education in and about their language; the second pathway gives second language learners a chance to learn to communicate using Auslan.

The publication of the Auslan curriculum reflects the importance of Auslan in Australia. The development of the curriculum has involved collaboration between members of Australia’s Deaf community, including organisations, community members, educators, Auslan teachers and leading academics.

Dr Breda Carty and Dr Louise de Beuzeville from RIDBC were both involved in developing and writing the Auslan curriculum, which gives legitimacy to the language of the Australian Deaf community.

Dr Breda Carty, who is a lecturer at RIDBC Renwick Centre, described the introduction of the curriculum as a major step forward for Australia. “Certainly for the Australian Deaf community, it’s significant, it’s a huge step towards equality. It’s a wonderful feeling that our language is now included in the school curriculum,” said Breda.

“The curriculum will also give hearing students the opportunity to learn Auslan, allowing them to communicate with their deaf peers.” Dr Louise de Beuzeville, a teacher and Auslan Coordinator at RIDBC Thomas Pattison School, said the introduction of the curriculum would overhaul the teaching of Auslan.

“What this curriculum does is gives us a scope and sequence for Auslan. It’s important for any language to have a curriculum for that language, but it’s particularly important in a language that is so different,” said Louise.

Dr Breda Carty, lecturer at RIDBC
Renwick Centre, describes the
introduction of the first national
curriculum in Auslan as a major
step forward for Australia

Caption: Dr Breda Carty, lecturer at RIDBC Renwick Centre, describes the introduction of the first national curriculum in Auslan as a major step forward for Australia

UEB Online Accessible Launch

RIDBC officially launched the accessible version of the world’s first eLearning braille course, UEB Online at the 2016 Round Table Conference on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities.

The UEB Online Accessible program builds on the initial launch of UEB Online, a training program for sighted people to learn Unified English Braille (UEB). The UEB Online Accessible program provides braille eLearning access to children and adults who are blind or have low vision.

UEB Online Accessible works with a variety of accessible technologies including screen readers and refreshable braille displays, each allowing use by a learner who is blind or vision impaired.

People wanting to access UEB Online or UEB Online Accessible should visit uebonline.org or accessible.uebonline.org. Registration for both programs is free.

RIDBC Educational Applications (Apps) for Mobile and Tablets

In 2016, RIDBC launched a new app designed to help children learn the everyday sounds of objects, vehicles, musical instruments and popular animals.

The ‘Listen and Learn’ app uses clear and simple animated graphics when each sound is heard. Users can select from 12 different categories such as Australian animals, domestic animals, farm animals, orchestral instruments and garden sounds. The app focuses on sounds heard in Australia, such as animals and safety sounds, but also includes objects known anywhere.

This is one of several apps available to download from the RIDBC website.

The ‘Listen and Learn’ app was developed
in cooperation with professionals in the
field of vision and hearing loss

Caption: The ‘Listen and Learn’ app was developed in cooperation with professionals in the field of vision and hearing loss

Connor’s Campaign Drives Change

15 year old Connor, who is blind, successfully lobbied the Reserve Bank to include tactile features on all new banknotes.

Connor proudly holds the new tactile $5
banknote which was issued into circulation
in 2016

Caption: Connor proudly holds the new tactile $5 banknote which was issued into circulation in 2016

Connor is a passionate advocate for the blind and low vision community. At just 10 years of age, he advocated for his right to represent his school in cross country after he qualified but was originally denied that right due to his vision loss.

At 13, he advocated for accessible banknotes to have a tactile feature incorporated on the new series to ensure blind and vision impaired users could independently identify the banknotes correctly. As a result, the first generation of tactile banknotes was issued into circulation in September 2016 by The Australian Reserve Bank.

Connor was diagnosed with Leber’s congenital amaurosis, a recessive genetic eye condition, at four months old. He began attending RIDBC VisionEd Preschool when he was three years old. He now attends mainstream school and receives support from RIDBC School Support Service (Vision Impairment).

“RIDBC has helped Connor build his confidence, independence and social skills. Today, Connor is a well-adapted, young achiever who just also happens to be blind,” says Connor’s mum, Ally.