IGDF Seminar 2018
was held in Sydney Australia from September 13th to 16th. Our staff members had the opportunity to share their passion and knowledge along with 300 plus attendees from 28 different countries.
IGDF Board Members: Kazumasa Oda (JGDA), Tim Stafford (GDBA, UK), Paul Metcalf (Guide Dogs Victoria, Australia), Christine Turc (Les Chiens Guides d'Aveugles de L'Ouest, France), Peter van der Heijden (KNGF, Netherlands), Wells Jones (Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind, USA)
Panel Discussion is one of the new styles that has been adopted into the IGDF seminar since Hvar. One of them at Sydney was titled ‘Access: “A Question of Access”’ and Sam Tawada from our school had the honor to participate as a panelist. Topics such as ‘how are guide dogs accepted in society’ and ‘is there any refusal of entry’ were brought up to open up discussions.
Sam, fourth from the left, taking part in the 'Accessibility' panel discussion
Many country representatives have said that they face similar problems and it was emphasized that we need to work together to enhance proper understanding of guide dogs and the visually impaired.
Someone mentioned that gaining accessibility is not just about changing laws and the social system, but it’s also about guide dog user’s motivation to go out.
In addition, we found out that in some countries, puppies and training dogs had similar access rights to guide dogs. We were encouraged that by showing such examples, we may be able to gain accessibility for puppies and training dogs in Japan as well. We want to train our dogs using public transportation and public facilities more smoothly, and we hope that it will lead to stronger interest and understanding towards guide dogs and visually impaired persons.
Mika Ambo from our promotion and education department gave a poster presentation titled, ‘How does our Society see Guide Dogs.’ She did a survey asking over 300 people about their opinion on assistance dogs and visually impaired persons. The result showed that most people showed understanding towards assistance dogs yet many thought that visually impaired persons were incapable of taking care of their guide dogs on their own. The audience valued her study and was interested in her conclusion that this type of wrong image towards visually impaired persons may be related to acceptance of guide dogs in society.
Mika Ambo presenting her poster. She is always thinking of a new approach to society to educate people about guide dogs and visual impairment.