As 3 December is International Day of People with Disability, and this year’s theme is technology, we thought we’d celebrate by talking to some of our online community members, who have been brought together by technology.
Scope’s online community has been a revelation for me as a parent of a disabled child. I was at the start of my journey when I discovered Netbuddy, now part of Scope. It made all the difference, as I could post a question about something serious or silly and someone out there would have a tip or an idea to help.
For many parents of a child with a disability there are not the physical networks available locally, simply because we are few and far between, which can be very isolating. Technology has allowed us to connect with other families and make friends through communities and forums like this.
It’s been a lifeline and a laugh I must say!
Noah, disabled community member
Forums like the Scope community are a great place to share ideas with other disabled people and hopefully help others gain something that will enable a greater quality of life. It feels good being able to help people, and you never know what you will get back.
The community is a safe place for disabled people to discuss things that perhaps their other friends wouldn’t understand. It reduces the feeling of being alone, trying to curve your way though life around the many challenges that having a disability brings.
The community is open 24 hours a day every day of the year, and you never know what you will get in reply from the hundreds of members that have such a wealth of different experiences. It might be that latest app that is changing their life for the better, or a new off-road mobility trike that’s helping them get out about and a little fitter. When people share their experiences they can inspire others.
On the other hand if you are can’t see the wood for the trees and need a some inspiration on how to move forward, or simply want to vent your frustration, you can post on the community for some support from people who understand.
Catherine, young carer
As a young person, it’s a way to be taken seriously and that’s why I think Scope’s community appealed to me. The idea of an online community is it’s a way of providing support and security for people who both need and deserve it.
You can share tips, tricks and advice to the benefit of others, to make their lives better, overcoming issues such as distance. Also, I feel more relaxed at approaching a professional in this manner. I love the Internet, and I look forward to becoming more a part of this helpful community!
Debbie, Helpline information officer
Working on the Scope helpline we’re used to dealing with issues on a one-to-one basis by phone or email. When the online community launched, we were slightly nervous at the thought of providing information and advice on such a public platform. But, now we’re all signed up and actively monitor and respond to posts daily.
I volunteered to become a community adviser in my lead role of Housing and Independent Living and it has become a very enjoyable way of reaching a wider audience. It also helps me with the research I carry out for my role which helps keep my knowledge up to date.
It has become increasingly difficult to find advice agencies particularly in the areas of Welfare Benefits, Housing and Social Care. We hear from people every day who are struggling to get advice about really important issues. To be able to give information on a public platform like the Scope online community means we are able to reach people we may not have previously been able to reach by phone or email.
It’s great when other community members join in with the various discussions and its brilliant seeing lots of people’s different perspectives on a particular topic. Most of all, I think people like seeing who they are talking to and knowing there is a real person behind the answers given. I hope that all of our community members feel as much a part of Scope as I do.
Chris Peak, Community advisor
Technology is changing around us daily and it offers disabled people opportunities that generations before could only have dreamed of. As an adaptive technology specialist, I find it extremely exciting.
A couple of years ago I heard of the wonderful work a small charity called Netbuddy was doing in offering on-line support, advice and tips across a whole variety of topics. As someone who worked with people with complex difficulties and impairments, I was keen to offer my services as an assistive technologist, and now continue to do so through the new Scope community.
In my experience it seems that sometimes people just require confirmation of an idea to point them in the right direction, or a community of people in a similar circumstance who can offer meaningful support.
I think the new community Netbuddy and Scope have created is a fantastic opportunity for people to support each other through technology, with friendly, caring, non-biased advice and ideas.