Have a conversation with someone who has a communication difference by Katie

Within the Write up your Street team, we’ve been doing lots of creative thinking to make it easier to communicate with one another. 

As members of our team live all over the county, we don’t get to meet in person as often as we’d like. However we communicate on a daily basis via WhatsApp. Most of us type our messages, but Sharron finds it works better for her to record audio and share her thoughts that way instead. It’s always a lovely change to hear her cheery voice amongst all the text messages.

For a while, Sally didn’t have a smartphone and so wasn’t able to join us on WhatsApp – until Ceri mentioned that she had an old one Sally could use. We found her a new sim card and helped her learn how to use the phone so that she could join in. At first Sally was nervous about using the phone and worried that she wouldn’t get the hang of it, but in no time at all – with just a little coaching and encouragement from other members of the team – she was regularly sharing updates and photos with everyone else, both on WhatsApp and by email. 

In addition to our daily WhatsApp chats, we like to have weekly video calls to share ideas and check in with one another. We use Zoom, which works well. Most people like to chat using the camera, but sometimes Ceri has days when she finds her speech difficulties particularly challenging. When she doesn’t feel like talking or being on camera she uses the chat box instead (in addition to pointing the camera at Cookie to entertain us). It’s not always easy for Oliver to read messages in the chat box, so other people will generally read them aloud to make sure he doesn’t miss out on anything.

Phoebe can get very tired and will often join our weekly calls from her bed. It’s great, because even though she might not have the energy to get up or go out, she almost always joins the calls, even if just to nap through them!

We all have different strengths and preferences, so we’re constantly exploring new ways to make sure that everyone can be involved in everything. It takes a bit of creativity, but it’s totally worth the effort. After all – everyone has such great things to say!

fun with zoom
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