Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - TRADES+SERVICES - Laura Tri­este

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.

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