On Thursday Wiley and I attended an NDIS pre planning workshop. I heard about the workshop via the google group managed by the ACT Guide Dog office. I thought it would be worth attending both for my personal benefit as well as being well informed for my new position.
The workshops were being held in two locations on several different days over a couple of weeks. I requested attending the one at the NDIS office on Northborne Avenue near the city. This is on my regular bus route which made it very convenient.
The bus timetable meant I was going to be early which was good as it gave me plenty of time to not only find the correct building but also figure out where I needed to go when I reached the NDIA office.
I had pre programmed the address as a user point of interest in my Mobile GEO device. When I got on the bus I asked the driver to let me know when we were at the closest bus stop. Once Wiley and I got off the bus I turned the GPS on, listened to what it told me and gave Wiley the command to go right. We walked along the road for a while but when we reached the next intersection I thought we had gone too far. I gave Wiley the back command and started to walk the way we had just come.
Fortunately I found someone to ask which number along Northbourne Avenue we were standing outside of. It turned out the GPS was a little off and we had gone past the correct building. Following the directions given to me I asked Wiley to find right, he took me up a path and stopped at the steps outside a building. When I heard someone behind me I checked with them that we were at the right place which we were.
I gave Wiley the forward command, we went up the steps and he took me to the automatic doors leading into the building. Once there I was completely lost and had no idea where to go so I couldn’t give Wiley any commands. I should have emailed and asked for more information about where I needed to go once I arrived.
It turned out the person I asked if I was at the right building was also going to the workshop so Wiley was able to follow them. We went to the lift, when we exited the lift Wiley took me to a door but it was locked. The door we needed was on the other side of the foyer. The workshop co-ordinator heard us and opened the door – we had arrived – phew!
We entered the room and Wiley took me to a chair. Myself and the other gentlemen were the first to arrive so they were all empty. After I sat down I praised Wiley, gave him a treat, he then promptly crashed out and quietly slept through the whole presentation.
I was pleasantly surprised when the co-ordinator gave me a good description of the room layout without being asked. I was also told that I would be emailed a copy of the handouts as I couldn’t access the printed ones. I haven’t received these yet so will have to chase them up next week. As expected the NDIA staff were well educated about Guide Dog etiquette.
The workshop was interesting and informative. I think most of the other people in attendance was a carer for someone so we spent a lot of time on questions specific to their concerns.
We were told there was quite a lot of information requested in the application for access to the scheme. I asked if this would be provided in an accessible format as being sent a whole heap of paper in the mail would not be at all useful for me. They said that it should be but I might have to specifically request it.
At the end of the session I gave them my details so I could be put on their database. This means that just before I become eligible for the scheme in January 2016 I should be sent out the access approval documentation. There isn’t anything else I need to do for now.
It was much easier getting out of the building. Wiley and I quickly found our way to the bus stop on the other side of the road so we could catch the bus home.
I am pleased I decided to go. Change is always a little daunting, for me the best way to ease the accompanying anxiety is to be well educated and informed about the changes.