A week of celebration for IDPwD: Increasing independence and digital literacy with Together@Yooralla

India and Ezra both participate in the Together@Yooralla program, designed to bring our customers together and support them to learn new skills and engage in fun activities through a range of online programs.

To mark International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD), which is held on 3 December, we’ll be featuring a series of articles this week to tell our customers’ stories and celebrate their achievements.

The Sisters of Invention, Australia’s first pop girl group with disability, will celebrate IDPwD with the Yooralla community this year by performing live on Thursday 3 December.

We invite you all to participate in a live stream concert:

Date: Thursday 3rd December 2020
Time: 11.00am - 11.50 AEDT
Link to view via YouTubehttps://youtu.be/QGuMGyDKJcc

Below is the fourth article in the series.

As Ezra rushes from one Zoom class to the next, his mum Lynn feels “incredibly proud” about how independent her son has become since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“By developing his digital literacy skills through Together@Yooralla, he’s gained so much independence with managing his schedule and commitments,” says Lynn.

Together@Yooralla was established in March, designed to bring our customers together and support them to learn new skills and engage in fun activities through a range of online programs.

Each Sunday, Ezra, who is a student at Yooralla’s Learning Hub, plans his Zoom classes for the week ahead using an Excel spreadsheet and Outlook Calendar. He also sets up reminders on his phone for each class.

“Siri is his best friend at the moment and he’s getting constant reminders throughout the day,” laughs Lynn.

“I’ve been very impressed with how organised Ezra has been. His weeks are planned a week in advance, all his classes are colour coordinated in his Excel spreadsheet and he’s been incredibly punctual too.

“I’ve been working from home since March with Ezra and his sister also at home, so him having those technological skills that allow him to be independent with his daily schedules has helped our family immensely in lockdown,” she says.

Together@Yooralla was also developed as a platform for our customers to make social connections.

Ezra says the online program has also allowed him to increase his friendship group.

“I’ve been hanging out with other Learning Hub students who live in Anglesea and Glen Iris – something that I couldn’t really do before,” he says.

The father of another Learning Hub student, India, said continuing the same routine with the same group of people, brought a sense of normality to his daughter amidst “the chaos of the pandemic”.

“When we first went into lockdown, with all the changes and all the news coverage, I could tell there was a bit of anxiety in her, but that quickly changed when the program was established and she could continue her normal life and see her friends.

“She has a pretty tight group of friends and they have also been using Zoom to hold Saturday night disco. They’ve been having so much fun dressing up, listening to music, dancing and taking turns to host it,” he says.

Rita Trotta, Customer Service Manager at the Learning Hub, says it’s been “so lovely” to see her students embracing all the changes this year.

“Our students have been really enjoying the online classes, with some so much, that they want to continue them even when they can go back to face-to-face learning,” says Rita.

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