Guide Dogs Queensland is not only about dogs

November 14, 2012

South Burnett residents with low or no vision will have the opportunity to trial some of the latest technology on offer to help people remain active and independent when Guide Dogs Queensland stages its first-ever Mobility Expo in the town tomorrow (November 15).

Guide Dogs Queensland will host the 2012 Low Vision Mobility Expo on Thursday at the Senior Citizens Centre, on the corner of Kingaroy and Avoca streets, from 10:00am–2:00pm.

The event will showcase the latest range of electronic travel aids like the UltraCane which emits ultrasonic waves that bounce off objects, similar to the echo location system used by bats and dolphins.

Visitors to the Expo will also get to trial other aids like the new StreetLight™ support cane, a height adjustable cane with built-in white light source that helps people with low vision walk safely at night.

GDQ Rehabilitation Services Manager Bashir Ebrahim said the event was a chance for people to talk to qualified instructors and learn about the range of mobility aids on offer, including a Guide Dog.

“We are known for our Guide Dogs however most of our work revolves around helping people remain independent and active through a whole range of aids and training options,” he said.

“People with low vision, their family and friends can come along and talk to our experts and find out about daily living aids; technology that can help at home and at work; and support groups.”

Mr Ebrahim said that thanks to community support, all services provided on the day would be free of charge. GDQ instructors would be able to travel to Kingaroy to provide further training if required.

Increasing demand for help with lost or fading vision in rural and regional centres has prompted Guide Dogs Queensland to stage the Expo in a bid to connect local people with services.

Figures reveal an Australian loses part or all of their sight every 65 minutes, and despite what many think, vision loss is not restricted to the ageing: it can affect people at any point in their lives.

Mr Ebrahim said GDQ receives no financial aid from government for the orientation and mobility services it provides in rural and remote Queensland, or for its much-loved Guide Dogs.

Every Guide Dog costs $30,000 to breed, train and place but is provided free of charge to those in need thanks to community support and Guide Dogs Queensland’s own fundraising efforts.

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