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Enhancing social participation in young people with communication disabilities living in rural Australia: outcomes of a home-based intervention for using social media

P. Raghavendra, L. Newman, E. Grace, D. Wood,

Academic Literature

2015

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of a home-based intervention using social media to enhance social networks of young people with disabilities and communication difficulties.;METHOD: Eight young people (M(age)=15.4 years) with communication disabilities participated from two rural Australian towns. The intervention provided assistive technology and training to learn social media use. A mixed-method design combined pre- and post-assessments measuring changes in performance, satisfaction with performance, attainment on social media goals, and social network extension, and interviews investigated the way in which the intervention influenced social participation.;RESULTS: Participants showed an increase in performance, and satisfaction with performance, on the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure; paired t-tests showed statistical significance at p<0.01. Wilcoxon Signed Ranks revealed a significant increase in the number of online communication partners, p<0.05. The interviews highlighted participants' and parents' perceptions of increased social connections, improved communication frequency and nature, and speech intelligibility and literacy as a result of the intervention.;CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that learning to use social media leads to increase in social participation among rural-based young people with communication disabilities. In order to benefit from advantages of learning to use social media in rural areas, parents and service providers need knowledge and skills to integrate assistive technology with the Internet needs of this group.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Disability & Rehabilitation

Domain/s: Education

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