Not all superheroes wear cloaks. That’s how one parent whose child was supported by NextSense describes our own Tricia d’Apice.
Tricia, who is a Lead Consultant–Vision Impairment, has just been recognised for service to education for people with vision impairment, with an honorary Community Fellowship from Western Sydney University. This latest honour follows her receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia in January this year.
The Fellowship is awarded to individuals who make an outstanding contribution to the Western Sydney region. It is seldom given and recognises Tricia as an alumnus of Western Sydney University. The prestigious honour was awarded by the university's Deputy Chancellor Elizabeth Dibbs at a graduation ceremony where Tricia was invited to deliver an occasional speech.
‘I didn’t want students who were blind to miss out on journeys to different countries in books, or to miss out on meeting all kinds of people, so I devised two braille reading programs over the years,’ Tricia said in her address.
‘To quote the Dr Seuss saying, “the more you read, the more things you know. The more you learn, the more places you will go.”
‘Students who accessed braille books have now travelled to many parts of the world and heard stories of different cultures.’
Tricia has dedicated her life to supporting children who are blind or have low vision, and their families. News of her award led to an outpouring of congratulatory messages from families on social media.
One Perth parent said: 'Tricia, our hero. Quote from my daughter “you made me feel like a normal person because you showed me how I could do normal things”. She now has one week left of Year 12 and has already got an early offer for a double degree next year. Not all superheroes wear cloaks.’
Another said: ‘Fantastic, Tricia. Congratulations! A well-deserved award in recognition of all the work you do for the vision impaired. A personal thank you for your support of our family over many years.’
And another: ‘Congratulations Tricia. Tricia works with [my son] and he loves his time with you each week. You are a wonderful support to him and our family.’
Tricia has supported families and children for 15 years at NextSense, and is a key member of the Connected Services team, dedicated to supporting, via telepractice, the educational journey of young people from rural and remote areas, who are blind or have low vision.
Tricia founded d’Ap Dots, a collection of braille books and resources that help with learning and understanding the basics of the United English Braille code, by providing an effective foundation for braille literacy for parents and children.
She is an adjunct lecturer at NextSense Institute, organises the annual NextSense braille camps, and holds senior honorary roles in international industry associations.
Congratulations Tricia on this amazing recognition of your work.