The Communication Access Group in Bendigo was initiated by Southern Loddon Mallee Regional Communication Service (see our July, September & October blogs) in partnership with Distinctive Options, a day and lifestyle service. But the Group couldn’t have happened without Kharlie, Communication Coordinator and Disability Support Worker!
Kharlie worked closely with the young women in the Group, getting to know them well and supporting them to use communication aids and strategies and to learn about communication access in the community. Kharlie stayed in touch with the Southern Loddon Mallee Regional Communication Service and went to Communication Coordinator Network meetings. Distinctive Options provided time every fortnight for Kharlie to develop communication aids and resources. The Communication Access Group, and others supported by Distinctive Options, got the benefits.
Here are just some of the things Kharlie developed:
- Picture based (individual) choice boards
- Picture and object based shopping lists
- Picture based what to bring lists to prepare for outings
- Picture based instructions such as safety in the kitchen
- Picture based routines such as arrival or washing the dishes
- Community request cards (shared and individual)
- Who here photos of everyone (both participants and staff)
- Picture based activity planner so everyone can plan the details of what will happen and have an accessible way to remember it
- Picture based story guides for individuals such as a road safety book for one participant
And she’s inspired others:
Now staff include pictures in notices to go home. That means participants have more access to information that concerns them.
Now one member of the Communication Access Group gets resources organised to ensure that staff and participants keep developing more communication strategies.
Over the year, Kharlie’s understanding of communication strategies and contribution to communication access has grown. She will be able to support Distinctive Options to be an even more inclusive and innovative service for participants with little or no speech into the future.