Community Connections Australia (CCA) Parramatta hub is a peer group of people with intellectual disability that have a shared interest in technology.
The group was set up four years ago as learning hub and now has 12-15 members who attend meetings regularly.
Earlier this year the group embarked on a project to tell their story about how they use technology for communication. They have produced a book with the input of all group members and are in the process of making a film.
“The original idea was to produce an information fact book but now it’s more about telling the story of the group. It tells everyone’s own story about how they use technology to communicate,” explains Sue Werner, CCA supporter.
The group members worked with a content writer to tell their individual story about how they use technology.
In the book Mary explains how she uses her mobile phone:
“My mobile helps me to stay connected to both community and close friends. When talking to friends I make sure to ask them how they are going and what they are doing and to see how we may support each other. The great thing about having a mobile phone is how we can stay connected all the time.”
Substitute for language
Sue explained how some members of the group prefer to communicate using photos.
“Recently a tap broke in Mary’s house and was leaking everywhere. She took a photo of it and sent it to us. It became a substitute to language; an alternative form of communication that everyone could understand.”
The technology has enabled everybody to bond over a common interest. They have grown more confident in using technology and are better supporting each other to do so.
The group meets every Friday to work on their project, socialise and have lunch together.
Some of the group members are unable to read and write and so require information in accessible formats. Some also have difficulties with expressive speech.
The group combines the strengths and interests of the participants to work together, with some members taking leadership and peer mentoring roles to assist others with different activities.
All the members of the group have active roles in the production of the book and film with each participant being interviewed separately.
Wendy Nixon is the coordinator of the group. She uses her phone to take photos and posts updates about their project on the Team Up Facebook group.
Tomas helps to coordinate the group. He helps with photos, makes sure people are organised and he is in control of the printing of the book.
Community Connections Australia provides in home support and community based services to people with all types and levels of disabilities throughout NSW.
They provide a range of options for people needing assistance with their mobile phone or tablet. They run technology hubs across the Sydney metro area where people come together in a peer supported environment to gain skills in the use of technology.
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