'I like talking to people on the computer': social media training and the social networks of rural youth with disabilities

Parimala Raghavendra, Lareen Newman, Emma Grace, Denise Wood, Claire Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of social media training on enhancing the social networks of young people with disabilities living in rural South Australia. Design: Mixed methods, pre-post design and interviews. Methods: Participants were 17 young people aged between 11;8 and 19;11 years (M=16;3, SD=2;4) with developmental disabilities living in rural towns of South Australia. Half of the participants, eight, had significant communication disabilities (Levels III, IV & V on Communication Functional Classification System). The Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) was administered to identify problem areas in social media use (e.g., Skype, Facebook, email), and measure performance and satisfaction. Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) was used to develop goals in problems areas identified via the COPM (e.g., to make or receive Skype calls to/from friends independently). The type and number of people that the participants were communicating with offline and online were mapped using the Circles of Communication Partners tool. An intensive individualised home intervention was provided in social media skills to target GAS goals. Where required, equipment or software and assistive technologies relevant to specific goals were provided (e.g. Dragon Naturally Speaking, WordQ). Participants and their parents/carers were interviewed before and after the intervention to capture their personal experiences of the intervention as well as benefits and challenges experienced. The COPM and Circles of Communication Partners were administered post intervention to assess changes to performance and social networks. Results: Mean self-rated performance and satisfaction with performance on COPM increased post-intervention. Paired ttests showed that these changes were significant (Performance t (df=16)=–10.27, p=0.000; Satisfaction t (df=16)=–7.37, p=0.000). The effect size of the change in performance (d=3.15) and satisfaction (d=2.33) was large. Wilcoxon signed ranks showed that significant increases were observed in Circle 2 (close friends, p<0.05) and Circle 6 (online communication partners, p=0.001). Participants achieved 77/92 of the goals agreed. All participants improved from the baseline and 37 of goals achieved exceeded expectations by one or two levels. The qualitative analysis identified a range of benefits including: perceived improvements to speech and literacy, improved confidence and independence. Conclusion: Personalised training and support can significantly improve social media skills of young people with disabilities living in rural areas of South Australia and enhance their social networks. Further research with a larger cohort, followed up longitudinally is required.
Original languageEnglish
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2016
EventThe Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine Conference -
Duration: 30 Mar 2016 → …

Conference

ConferenceThe Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine Conference
Period30/03/16 → …

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