Welcome to Zest - a place for youth, by youth.

Quick update: you told us and we listened...

We have had feedback that the original format of Zest being divided into seven topic categories didn't give you the quickest access to the latest posts. With this in mind we have now combined all categories into one forum, with the latest posts at the top. We hope Zest is now easier to navigate.

We are always looking at ways to improve and make this space one of your favourites, so we will continue to look at other ways to keep Zest relevant and as interactive as it can be. Keep those suggestions coming - any feedback you have is much appreciated as we are making these changes with you in mind.

zest@visionaustralia.org

Zest 101

If you're a first time visitor, welcome! If you're a regular Zest reader or contributor, welcome back. Here's a quick snapshot of Zest.

Zest is an online space for people around the ages of 18 to 35 who live with blindness or low vision. Whether it’s talking about dating, socialising, travelling, your studies, working or simply useful things to do when you are chilling in your own time, we want this to be the place where you can ask questions and interact with others who have similar experiences to yourself. Zest is your community, and we hope you introduce yourself and share. Don’t be shy.

Getting started

The following links are your best friends on this site.
Note: some links will display a new page, others will update sections further down this page.
Sign Up Log in Guest Book and Introductions Forums News Feed Useful Links

Don’t miss out!

We put together a short newsletter every couple of weeks to summarise the latest Zest topics, conversations and news.

Subscribe to the mailing list by entering your email address in the text box on this page. Y ou can do this by pressing the letter E on your keyboard or navigating via headings by pressing H.

Need help:

Check out our audio guide on navigating Zest or our tips on navigating Zest with a screenreader

Send through your feedback:

The Zest team welcomes suggestions and ideas to improve the site. To contact us or make a suggestion simply email: zest@visionaustralia.org

The small print:

While we try to ensure the Zest pages have accurate information and resources, Zest is a place for people to share personal experiences and solutions. The information on these pages is not meant to be a substitute for professional assistance or advice.

Quick update: you told us and we listened...

We have had feedback that the original format of Zest being divided into seven topic categories didn't give you the quickest access to the latest posts. With this in mind we have now combined all categories into one forum, with the latest posts at the top. We hope Zest is now easier to navigate.

We are always looking at ways to improve and make this space one of your favourites, so we will continue to look at other ways to keep Zest relevant and as interactive as it can be. Keep those suggestions coming - any feedback you have is much appreciated as we are making these changes with you in mind.

zest@visionaustralia.org

Zest 101

If you're a first time visitor, welcome! If you're a regular Zest reader or contributor, welcome back. Here's a quick snapshot of Zest.

Zest is an online space for people around the ages of 18 to 35 who live with blindness or low vision. Whether it’s talking about dating, socialising, travelling, your studies, working or simply useful things to do when you are chilling in your own time, we want this to be the place where you can ask questions and interact with others who have similar experiences to yourself. Zest is your community, and we hope you introduce yourself and share. Don’t be shy.

Getting started

The following links are your best friends on this site.
Note: some links will display a new page, others will update sections further down this page.
Sign Up Log in Guest Book and Introductions Forums News Feed Useful Links

Don’t miss out!

We put together a short newsletter every couple of weeks to summarise the latest Zest topics, conversations and news.

Subscribe to the mailing list by entering your email address in the text box on this page. Y ou can do this by pressing the letter E on your keyboard or navigating via headings by pressing H.

Need help:

Check out our audio guide on navigating Zest or our tips on navigating Zest with a screenreader

Send through your feedback:

The Zest team welcomes suggestions and ideas to improve the site. To contact us or make a suggestion simply email: zest@visionaustralia.org

The small print:

While we try to ensure the Zest pages have accurate information and resources, Zest is a place for people to share personal experiences and solutions. The information on these pages is not meant to be a substitute for professional assistance or advice.

Discussions: All (11) Open (11)
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    Has anyone used Air tasker much before? I used it for the first time this weekend and found it to be very good. I hired a guy to install a wall mount into my wall so I could put my new TV on it. I ended up getting it done for almost $200 less than I was quoted by an installation company I was directed to when I bought it. Essentially for anyone who doesn’t know about Air Tasker. It is an app and website that allows you to post tasks you need done. It could be, I...

    Has anyone used Air tasker much before? I used it for the first time this weekend and found it to be very good. I hired a guy to install a wall mount into my wall so I could put my new TV on it. I ended up getting it done for almost $200 less than I was quoted by an installation company I was directed to when I bought it. Essentially for anyone who doesn’t know about Air Tasker. It is an app and website that allows you to post tasks you need done. It could be, I need a gardener on Sunday and I want to pay 100 bucks for it. It goes up on the site and people get in touch with you who are willing to do it and you can see their ratings and reviews from others, just like an eBay or uber rating system. The app is fully accessible and very easy. They also have insurance to cover all parties involved if there are any issues. Make sure you do your research but the next time I need something done around the house I will definitely be looking at Air Tasker. I think it could potentially be very useful for those little tasks that can be tricky if you are blind or low vision.






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    I got my first smart TV this week and I love it. It is a main stream Samsung 32 inch full HD TV and best of all it comes with built in accessibility features. It has a feature called “voice guide” which is essentially the same as voice over and it allows you to access all the features without having to remember how many clicks of a button it is to change something etc. It now allows me to be able to record, view the TV guide, connect apple TV and browse the internet should I wish. I...

    I got my first smart TV this week and I love it. It is a main stream Samsung 32 inch full HD TV and best of all it comes with built in accessibility features. It has a feature called “voice guide” which is essentially the same as voice over and it allows you to access all the features without having to remember how many clicks of a button it is to change something etc. It now allows me to be able to record, view the TV guide, connect apple TV and browse the internet should I wish. I also like that the remote control is smart too so it will automatically configure and double as your apple tv remote as well so you only need one remote to do everything. The set-up process is fully accessible by just hitting a button. Do others know about any similar TV’s and what brands they are? Would be good to know.






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    Thought this was a funny list. Some of which I get and some of which I have never ever ever come across. Also the comments aren't mine haha. What are your thoughts?

    10  Really? You can work a computer?
    Yes, it is not 1950 out there. Assistive technology has gone mainstream. I can even work an iPhone too!

    9. When I am with someone people will ask that person questions about me when I am right there.
    That’s right blind people can speak for themselves. Believe it or not we can even order food for ourselves when in a restaurant!...

    Thought this was a funny list. Some of which I get and some of which I have never ever ever come across. Also the comments aren't mine haha. What are your thoughts?

    10  Really? You can work a computer?
    Yes, it is not 1950 out there. Assistive technology has gone mainstream. I can even work an iPhone too!

    9. When I am with someone people will ask that person questions about me when I am right there.
    That’s right blind people can speak for themselves. Believe it or not we can even order food for ourselves when in a restaurant!

    8. How do you live?
    In an apartment by myself. That’s right, jealous much? I get to do what I want whenever I want, and I don’t ever have to turn any lights on to do it.

    7. People who start talking louder when around me.
    Really, you do realise I am blind not deaf? Seriously you went to college and could not figure that out?

    6. People who grab you and say “Let me help.”
    Whoa easy there tough guy. What do you think is going to happen if you walk up on the street and grab a sighted person you do not know? You are probably
    going to get punched. The same thing will happen if you grab a blind guy without asking first. Believe it or not, blind people do not like to be grabbed
    by strangers on the street. Always ask first before touching…

    5. Guess who it is?
    For some reason it is always someone I have met once or twice who says this. Yes, blind people do not have everyone they have ever met voice committed
    to memory. Sorry to disappoint. Even if we do know you, do not come up as if it is a game to guess who you are, it is not a game to us.

    4. For those of us who walk with a white cane and have it folded up “Nice pool cue.”
    Leave the comedy to us professionals. Would you say to someone in a wheelchair nice Go-Kart? I do not think so.

    3. This conversation:
    “Are you training that dog?”
    “No I am blind.”
    “Really? You don’t look blind.”
    Seriously what does a blind person look like? Believe it or not blind people come in all races, religions, height, weight, sex, and nationalities…

    2. You’re my hero!
    Really, you barely know me. My typical response cannot be published here but put it this way, blind people can be sociopaths too.

     1. On Halloween: “What a brilliant costume – a blind guy.”
    No, this is my everyday look and why I never leave the apartment on Halloween anymore…

    Taken from the following article but the website isn't easily accessible
    Top 10 things not to say to a blind person-article



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    This is pretty neat. There has been tests done on making AFL accessible and blind/ low vision friendly to play. It is my understanding that it involves an audio ball that beeps or jingles in some way and goals that do also. Please check out the following link for more info. Who'd be game for it? has anyone been part of the test so far?


    Blind AFL- AFL Victoria

    This is pretty neat. There has been tests done on making AFL accessible and blind/ low vision friendly to play. It is my understanding that it involves an audio ball that beeps or jingles in some way and goals that do also. Please check out the following link for more info. Who'd be game for it? has anyone been part of the test so far?


    Blind AFL- AFL Victoria

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    Since going self-managed on the NDIS I have found the entire thing to be a much more pleasant beast to deal with. I have also seen how the NDIS can directly help me, quickly, in a way that I choose without causing me some of the same pain as when I was NDIA managed.

    Defining terms

    NDIA managed means that when you need something that your plan funding covers that you have assessments. These assessments by Vision Australia get drawn up after an interview with you, sent to the NDIA; they review and hopefully approve it. They then will send...

    Since going self-managed on the NDIS I have found the entire thing to be a much more pleasant beast to deal with. I have also seen how the NDIS can directly help me, quickly, in a way that I choose without causing me some of the same pain as when I was NDIA managed.

    Defining terms

    NDIA managed means that when you need something that your plan funding covers that you have assessments. These assessments by Vision Australia get drawn up after an interview with you, sent to the NDIA; they review and hopefully approve it. They then will send the confirmation to Vision Australia and give authorization for the product to be purchased and handed over to you.

    Self-managed means that the responsibility for the administrative stuff is in your hands. This means that you go to the service provider and get the service and sort out the funding/ billing yourself between Vision Australia and the NDIA.

    Summary

    NDIA managed means that the NDIA and your service provider take care of the admin and billing between themselves.
    Self-managed means I take care of the admin and billing between the NDIA and my service provider.

    NDIA managed example

    If I needed pen friend labels from the Vision Australia shop, If I was NDIA managed the following would happen. I would let an occupational therapist or adaptive technology staff member know, they would then need to access my plan, write a report, send it off to the NDIA who would review it, hopefully approve it. Then the NDIA would let that staff member within Vision Australia know that it is okay to purchase the pen friend labels for me and hand them over. This is a lot of work for a 40 dollar product and definitely time consuming.

    Self-managed example

    If I was self-managed I would do the following. I would go to the Vision Australia shop and buy the penfriend labels with my own money. I keep the receipt and go home. When I get home I log onto MyGov website. Within the NDIS page I should have linked there I will go to my payment requests and create a new request. I enter the date I purchased the labels, the amount the labels were purchased for and select what category on my plan to assign the cost to. In this case I would assign it to consumables. 40 dollars gets deduced from my consumables budget and I keep the receipt I got from Vision Australia in a safe place should the NDIA ever come knocking. This is to ensure that the date and price you entered into the system match the receipt from Vision Australia so the money is accounted for. Assuming I have my bank account details entered into MyGov the 40 dollars I spent of my own money will be reimbursed into my bank account within a day or 2 so I am not out of pocket.

    I now do this for everything NDIS related except for assistive technology. This is because assistive tech items are expensive and a higher risk so assessments need to be conducted to ensure the correct device is being purchased for the right needs and the expense is justified.

    Self- managed also means that you aren’t restricted to only use NDIS approved providers.  You can use any business as long as it is legitimate and has an ABN [Australian business number].

    Example:
    If I live alone and have difficulties maintaining my garden or grass because of my blindness I can hire a gardener. I can either use an NDIA registered gardening service, or any gardening service that is a registered business. I would pay the gardener for their work, receive an invoice ore receipt, and enter a payment request into MyGov with the date of the service, the amount and which category on my plan it was in relation to. In this case it would be daily activity/ core support. I would then keep the receipt in a safe place should the NDIA come knocking and within a day or 2 I should be reimbursed the cost of the gardener into my bank account.

    Examples of service where I self-manage

    If I buy anything from the Vision Australia shop
    If I have an orientation and mobility session
    If I have an occupational therapy session
    If I have an adaptive technology session
    If I hire a 3rd party support worker to help me go shopping, go to a concert, go to the swimming pool.

    Note

    It is also worth remembering that different types of management options serve different purposes and exist to provide flexibility across disabilities and differing life circumstances and family dynamics. Self-management works for me, it does not mean it works for everyone.
    The following page will give you more information:
    Your questions answered- managing your plan and participant information


    You'll also see a more official guide I found from the NDIS below to download should you wish.

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    Thought this was worth a share. I got a new app on my Iphone called SongShift. Essentially it works by allowing you to move playlists across music services. For example:

    I made a killer playlist on my spotify, For whatever reason I may want it on my apple music app. SongShift allows me to move the playlist over without having to create the same playlist all over again. Best thing it's fully accessible and fairly intuitive to use. Hope that is useful information to someone out there.

    Thought this was worth a share. I got a new app on my Iphone called SongShift. Essentially it works by allowing you to move playlists across music services. For example:

    I made a killer playlist on my spotify, For whatever reason I may want it on my apple music app. SongShift allows me to move the playlist over without having to create the same playlist all over again. Best thing it's fully accessible and fairly intuitive to use. Hope that is useful information to someone out there.

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    Each year, Vision Australia awards Further Education Bursaries to a select number of students who are blind or have low vision.

    Applications for the 2019 bursary open 1 August 2018.

    Applications must be submitted by 31 October 2018.

    The bursaries provide adaptive technology to help students fully participate and succeed in their chosen studies.

    Assistive technology can eliminate barriers to education and enhance access to information.

    It enables students to read course material, conduct research and improve their student life.

    For more information and details on how to apply, please visit:
    visionaustralia.org/bursary
    If you have any queries or would like...

    Each year, Vision Australia awards Further Education Bursaries to a select number of students who are blind or have low vision.

    Applications for the 2019 bursary open 1 August 2018.

    Applications must be submitted by 31 October 2018.

    The bursaries provide adaptive technology to help students fully participate and succeed in their chosen studies.

    Assistive technology can eliminate barriers to education and enhance access to information.

    It enables students to read course material, conduct research and improve their student life.

    For more information and details on how to apply, please visit:
    visionaustralia.org/bursary
    If you have any queries or would like to speak with our bursary coordinator, please feel free to make direct contact:

    Joy King
    Phone 03 8378 1220 or
    Joy.King@visionaustralia.org





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    The following link is to an article written by a woman who is blind about her experiences. I think she has some really good insights. What do you think?
    Are blind people denied their sexuality? [article]


    The following link is to an article written by a woman who is blind about her experiences. I think she has some really good insights. What do you think?
    Are blind people denied their sexuality? [article]


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    I tried Blind soccer or Football as I like to call it for the first time this weekend. Was awesome. Very competitive, challenging and freeing. I used to play when I was younger and could still see. What other sports do people play and how do they work? cheers



    I tried Blind soccer or Football as I like to call it for the first time this weekend. Was awesome. Very competitive, challenging and freeing. I used to play when I was younger and could still see. What other sports do people play and how do they work? cheers



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    So I just came back from my very first solo international holiday where I knew nobody. I went with a company called TravelEyes to San Francisco and Yosemite
    national park for 12 days. Considering I feared I would never be able to travel on my own as an adult without the agreement or company of my family or
    friends: I can’t put in words just how much of a big deal this was to me. I have literally never felt so free and liberated, just in the knowledge that
    I can do what other 28 year olds do and have...


    So I just came back from my very first solo international holiday where I knew nobody. I went with a company called TravelEyes to San Francisco and Yosemite
    national park for 12 days. Considering I feared I would never be able to travel on my own as an adult without the agreement or company of my family or
    friends: I can’t put in words just how much of a big deal this was to me. I have literally never felt so free and liberated, just in the knowledge that
    I can do what other 28 year olds do and have my dignity and safety intact while doing it. Travel eyes are a company out of England that provides holidays
    for sighted and non-sighted travelers in a tour group setting. On my trip there were 6 blind or low vision travelers and 7 sighted travelers. Nobody
    but the tour guide is a professional, there are no carers or anything like that just people eager to travel and eager to help one another out and look
    out for each other and the group.

    Before the holiday

    Before the holiday I got sent a travel holiday pack of everything we would be doing, where we are staying, the facilities in all of the places we stay
    and a list of names of your fellow travelers. The tour guide also got in touch to introduce themselves and give you a rundown of what is happening in
    terms of the group meeting with each other and to just check how you are feeling about it all and go over any concerns.

    The flight

    I had booked my flight with Quanta’s and asked for “meet and assist” which lets the airline know you need some assistance getting through the important
    parts of the airport like customs and security. It also ensures that on the flight itself and on the other end in your destination airport that the staff
    are aware and can help you out and get where you need to go.

    To the hotel

    In my case I hadn’t realized that San Francisco had two airports in the area and I flew into one while the main body of the group flew into the other 9
    hours later. Usually the tour guide will try and meet you at the airport if you are flying in on your own to make the thing as simple as possible. In my
    case that wasn’t possible so I shared an uber with a friendly local who over heard me talking about how I was going to get to the hotel. SO it all worked
    out.

    The rooms

    When I got to the first hotel I got set up in a room that I was sharing with another traveler on the tour. You can choose to have your own room or share.
    Sharing being a cheaper option. You also get orientated if you so choose to each room you are in so you know where all the essentials are. On my trip all
    of the hotel rooms for the entire tour generally ended up being close to each other so you are never too far away from people you know. It might be the
    same floor, or corridor etc.

    Breakfast

    Every sighted and non-sighted traveler gets paired with a breakfast buddy for the entirety of the holiday. You arrange each day when to you meet your
    breakfast partner and what time you want to go etc. and just work it out between yourselves what works for both of you. Breakfast was included in the tour
    on every day in my case on my trip.

    During the days

    During the day you have a day partner that rotates each day. So every blind traveler will be paired with a sighted traveler for the day’s excursions
    with the larger group. This works really well. For me I just need an elbow and the cane does the rest, apart from that it was a great way to get to know
    someone else. The rotation happens every day to ensure everyone gets the chance to mingle with each other and that any personality clashes don’t happen
    or cause an issue.

    Tourist sites

    I found that many of the places we went to had some kind of accessible information for someone who couldn’t see that well. In the case of Alcatraz and
    Yosemite national park there were detailed tactile models you could feel to give you an idea of what you are  not seeing which I had never come across
    before. In the case of Alcatraz prison there was an audio guided tour which every visitor partakes in. you just press play when told and you are told stories
    and instructed through a journey of the complex as you walk around.

    Dinner

    Generally the group tries to eat together and the tour guide will find a new place every night and book us all in. if you feel like going somewhere else
    you are free to do so or in my case I just chilled in my room and missed dinner a night or two so it’s flexible.

    Free time

    There was a certain amount of free time on my trip where you can decide to go somewhere else with your day partner or just do your own thing in your room.
    There is also the option that if your day partner wants to do something that you don’t want to that you can swap partners to make sure everyone gets to
    do what they feel like doing and nobody misses out, sighted or non-sighted.

    Local tour guides

    I found that the 2 tour guides we had that were locals were great at explaining things in a way the blind and low vision travelers could understand. One
    of them in particular drove us around the national park for5 days on his bus, bringing us to all the sites, informing us of their history and generally
    being a top guy that was great to hang out with. In my case he ended up helping me out later in a big way.

    Going home

    The tour guide from TravelEyes made sure that all of us had what we needed in terms of getting home and to the airport. In my case because I was flying
    out of another airport I didn’t go to the airport with the main tour group. Nicely for me, our local guide who we had spent 5 days with offered to bring
    me to my airport and make sure I got to where I needed to go which was really great of him and calmed my nerves big time. I will know next time however
    to try and synchronize my plans a little better with the main body of the group.

    After the holiday

    After I got back home I received an email from the company welcoming me back and a list of email addresses of those in the group who wished to stay in
    touch. I also received a feedback form to comment on how the holiday went in every aspect so the company could take that into account for further trips.

    The best thing I have ever done.






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