Meet Kelsey: A Vision Australia orientation and mobility specialist

21 May 2020

As one of our orientation and mobility specialists, Kelsey Shekelton supports people who are blind or have low vision by teaching them how to safely and independently navigate their surroundings.

Kelsey, who joined our team in February, intended to pursue a traditional teaching career, but took a sideways step when she was completing her university’s orientation program.

“When I discovered that there was a course in visual disability studies, I decided, then and there, to jump right in. When I met and started working with people I’d be supporting, I knew I’d made the right decision,” she said. “And now that I’m working at Vision Australia, I couldn’t be happier.

“As an orientation and mobility specialist, I work closely with each of my clients, teaching them all the ways they can maintain a high quality of life. That’s a responsibility I take seriously, but to have such a significant impact on their lives is also incredibly rewarding.”

Building important skills

Kelsey has specialised training that means she can train Vision Australia clients in a wide range of skills.

“The things I teach include cane techniques and skills, travel skills, using public transport, mapping, understanding directions, and orientation to particular routes. I also show people how to use technology to get the most out of their travel experience. Most clients really enjoy learning and then practising to navigate environments they frequently visit, as well as places of interest they might visit only occasionally.”

An important part of her role is to help clients develop their confidence. “Once people get past the fear, learn some safety methods, and enjoy the freedom of getting out and about with confidence, nothing’s going to stop them.”

What about COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic means Kelsey has had to adapt how she works, but thanks to Vision Australia’s telehealth program, she and her colleagues have been able to continue supporting their clients during what has been a challenging time for everyone.

“Adapting my teaching methods by using different technology has encouraged me to think outside the box and look for new ways to support my clients. And that’s definitely a good thing.”

If you are interested in accessing orientation and mobility services from Vision Australia, call 1300 84 74 66 or email info@visionaustralia.org