Student’s passionate campaign drives change

Connor and his mum, Ally

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

Connor McLeod 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 at 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 were issued into circulation in September by The Australian Reserve Bank.

Connor was diagnosed with Leber's congenital amourosis, a recessive genetic eye condition, at four months old.

“It was a terrible shock to be told your child is blind,” said Connor’s mum, Ally. “I had no idea what was involved in raising a blind child and was very frighted of what his future may be.”

Connor began attending RIDBC VisionEd Preschool when he was three years old.

“RIDBC VisionEd Preschool was simply remarkable. Connor first learnt his braille skills there and just being able to read has opened his world up to so many different things,” said Ally. 

Connor 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,” said Ally. “Connor loves abseiling, rock climbing and exploring wild caves. He plays the drums and keyboard and just like most teenage boys he loves his technology.”

Connor furthered his campaign for change by advocating for text to speech technology on EFTPOS machines to ensure blind and low vision users knew how much was being withdrawn from their account at the point of purchase.