LIGHT THE WAY AIDING THE VISION IMPAIRED REWARDS
WEARING a blindfold was a startling realisation for Emma Bartley on what it is like for people who are vision impaired to do every day tasks.
It was an experience she had at the start of her training with Guide Dogs NSW/ ACT to be an orientation and mobility instructor.
“I realised I had to put my complete trust in the person next to me,” she said.
This is the role that Ms Bartley has been playing for the past 18 months, as the newest member of the organisation’s team of 80 instructors.
Her job is to assess, plan for, and train people who are blind or impaired on a oneto-one basis.
“I work with clients who’ve had a vision impair- ment since birth and others who have lost their vision later in life,” she said.
“I can be working with babies as young as two months old right through to people aged 100.
“For children it’s all about moving, exploring and facilitating play.
“With adults it’s about getting to work, picking up the kids from school, visiting family, getting to the shops and everything else.”
Ms Bartley said she loves that this role allows her to work with people with a wide range of needs and goals.
“Seeing a client achieve a goal they have been working on for weeks or months, is very rewarding,” she said.
Ms Bartley said instructors need to have good communication skills and work well in an unpredictable environment.
“You can’t control all aspects of the environment we live in so you need to be able to adapt and think quickly,” she said.
“It is essential to listen to the client, to provide the best possible support for them to achieve their goals.”
Guide Dogs NSW/ACT orientation and mobility instructor Emma Bartley (right) working with client Charlotte Harrison outside of Macquarie Shopping Centre.