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Support for carers and families.

A change in vision doesn’t have to change a lifestyle.
A person and their black labrador Guide Dog outside in the park. The dog is looking up at the person and the person is smiling at the camera.

Tailored skills for independence

Experiencing a change in vision is challenging, regardless of your loved one’s age or circumstance. As a supporting parent, partner, or primary carer, it’s natural to feel uncertain. Whether the change happened suddenly or over time, there are always questions. Will my child make friends at school and fulfil their potential? Will my partner still be able to work and live our active lifestyle? Can mum or dad stay independent at home and enjoy their favourite activities?

Although the answers to these questions are unique depending on your loved one’s situation, our services are similarly designed on a case-by-case basis to support personal goals. Whatever your child, partner, parent or friend hopes to achieve, we support each person to acquire new skills, establish or maintain independence, and enjoy a high quality of life; regardless of what that means for your loved one.

What kind of support is available?

Every support service at Guide Dogs Victoria is tailored to each person’s individual goals. Here are some examples of the types of skills other people commonly achieve:

  • Navigating and exploring the world independently, including catching public transport, moving through busy environments, and travelling to uni, work or school. These skills can be taught through Orientation and Mobility services.
  • Children can learn to explore their day-to-day world safely and independently, play and get active, and confidently interact with others. These skills can be taught through Children’s Mobility Services.
  • Independence around the home, including cooking and cleaning, gardening, showering and bathing, grocery shopping and using telephones. These skills can be learned through Occupational Therapy.
  • Through our program of Children’s Mobility Camps, children can learn Orientation and Mobility skills in a group setting while making friends and engaging socially with their peers. Adults have the same opportunities to meet similar people and make friends through Peer Support Programs.

How to access funding

Depending on age and circumstances, your loved one may be able to access financial assistance to access our supports. This will help cover the costs of support or training programs. Regardless of whether your loved one is eligible for funding assistance or not, we work hard to offer all people with low visions or blindness access to our services. Be reassured, we will always provide support regardless of your financial situation.

Learn about funding options

Young child with their arms around their mothers neck and they are both looking at the camera smiling. They are seated on grass outside.

Create a more supportive environment

If your loved one is still thinking about connecting with Guide Dogs Victoria—or they are hesitant to get in touch with a support provider—there are some easy steps you can take to provide immediate support at home, especially if they have experienced a recent change in vision. Some examples include:

  • Ensure doors are either fully closed or fully open: never leave them ajar.
  • Advise your loved one of any changes to furniture placement and the position of objects like vases or ornaments.
  • Remove any objects that may become a tripping hazard, like power cables, cords, and rugs.
  • Always close cupboard doors and bench drawers.
  • If an environment is unfamiliar, provide a clear verbal description—often referred to as a ‘verbal map’ of the room layout, including the location of specific objects.

Give us a call on 1800 804 805 for more information on how to provide a supportive environment for your loved one.

Three young adults sitting inside with a yellow labrador dog next to one of them. They are all looking at each other smiling.

Get in contact or refer for support

If you’re hoping to access support for someone you know or currently care for, we welcome referrals from parents, friends, family members, and a wide range of health professionals.

A referral is just like initiating a casual conversation; there is no commitment or obligation involved on your—or your loved one’s—behalf.

You can change a life. Support Guide Dogs before June 30.

It’s estimated almost 70 Australians a day will be diagnosed with a severe vision condition by 2030. With your help, we will be able to provide the support to meet this growing need.