As a new member of the North West Regional Communication Service, I have been privileged to be involved in and experience the positive impact that the Regional Communication Service has on services/local communities and their members that service individuals with complex communication needs.
Donna experienced a stroke 2 years ago which left her unable to speak. Since this event, she has been using her iPad, specifically the app Proloquo2Go, gestures, photos, and writing to communicate with her friends, family and members of the community.
The North West Regional Communication Service has recently partnered with the Royal Melbourne Hospital – Royal Park Campus to present training regarding communication access to new staff members. The aim was to equip new staff members with the skills and knowledge to communicate with individuals with complex communication needs. This could not have been done without the help and courage of a communication access consultant, Donna.
Donna played a major role in delivering the training. She began by sharing her personal experiences after her stroke: frustration and isolation when people could not communicate with her successfully and sadness when people treat her differently. She also shared her new expertise: the importance of having strategies and alternative communication methods to foster successful communication and interactions.
Staff marveled at Donna’s proficiency in using the Proloquo2go app and also discussed ways in which they could improve the current communication boards to better suit people who have communication disabilities or difficulties.
Donna has a new-found confidence in sharing her story with a variety a people that interact with individuals who have complex communication needs. She continues to support these staff to enhance their skills in communicating with people who have communication difficulties.
Stephanie Popovich, North West Regional Communication Service