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Social media a positive platform for young people with sensory impairment

I recently had the pleasure of attending a special presentation by one of my 2015 Advisory Committees - School of Special Education Needs: Sensory Advisory Committee.

The Advisory Committee made contact with all high school children in WA who have a vision or hearing loss to survey their views and developed a short film and written report about how young people with sensory impairment use social media.

The students also worked with artist Paul Deej on four murals representing emotions related to elements of social media use.

The Sensory Advisory Committee is a group of 16 high school students from across the Perth metropolitan region who are deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing or have vision impairment.

This project is significant as we believe that no research has been conducted with young people with these types of disability on this topic.

The results found that more than 70 per cent of survey participants enjoy using social media for the sense of belonging it offers, with Facebook and Skype being the most popular platforms.

Survey participants believe social media is extremely important, and can help to improve communication and networking, reduce isolation and provide an environment where everyone is treated the same.

To find out more about the survey results, view the "Us and Our Community" film or read the Report on the Research Findings. Alternative formats are available.

It was wonderful to have so many people in attendance to support the advisory committee, including parents, teachers and community and government representatives.

I sincerely thank the Sensory VisAbility Youth Advisory Committee Steering Committee, as well as Kaye Garrett, Acting Principal of School of Special Education Needs – Sensory, for their ongoing support and dedication this year.

Most importantly, thank you to each and every one of the Sensory Advisory Committee members and congratulations again on your achievements.

The resources that you have created and presented to me are important for the work of my office and I look forward to promoting them to the wider community.

Colin Pettit
Commissioner for Children and Young People