Updated: Aug 1, 2019
Blog post by Lewis Price - YDAN Project Officer, Jack Meakins - YDAN Committee Member, and Vanessa Vlajkovic - YDAN Committee Member
YDAN has a keen interest and goal to ensure we represent a diverse range of voices, part of that is working towards establishing committees in regional Western Australia.
"People who don’t know the nature of the disability they live with, can experience difficulty in implementing strategies to help them cope."
Several weeks ago, members of the YDAN Team travelled to the Great Southern Region. It was here that we met great young people, and passionate youth and community service workers. YDAN delivered workshops to up-skill and teach these awesome people how to be more inclusive of young people with disabilities.
First impressions, Katanning is tiny! Well, not that tiny – but tiny compared to Perth. There were lots of students at the high school but the town itself seemed quite isolated and uncrowded. It was a pleasant change and different to the hustle and bustle of city life.
The YDAN Team were joined on the trip by the Youth Educating Peers (YEP) Crew who also delivered sector workshops, after spreading our wisdom and sharing information, both YEP and YDAN headed to Katanning Senior High School for a Health Expo.
It's Agreed...Young People Are Awesome!
The Katanning high school students were really interested in YDAN and what we do. Many were asking really intelligent questions about disability and showed a keen interest in disability rights.
Although for some shy students it took some persuasion, they seemed pretty happy learning Auslan from Jack and tactile fingerspelling from Vanessa. It was great to see their eagerness to learn about what it is like to live with a disability and walk in Vanessa's shoes (not literally!) for a few minutes! Reducing stigma around disability is really important and YDAN uses this kind of engagement to break down walls and help apprehension around disability.
Vanessa recalls overhearing some students commenting to each other as they walked away "that was so cool!" (well her interpreter heard them and then told Vanessa). It was really encouraging to the YDAN team to have such positive interactions with the young people, and we hope they were able to learn something about disabilities that they could find useful in their future.
Love The Passion...Can We Go Work With These People?
The youth and social community workers were fantastic, and made us want to move to Katanning just so we could hang. Jack's favourite part was interacting with service providers in the workshops on the first day. They gave YDAN a really good insight into some of the issues that they faced, being in a regional area. We learnt about the significant financial barriers for people who live in regional areas, and those who are looking to obtain a diagnosis.
They were definitely keen listeners with many questions and we had some really meaningful interactions. The attendees were really proactive with their accessibility thinking, asking themselves and each other about the accessibility of the town and their own services, which is a sign that they are identifying what works, what doesn't and where they can improve which is a great step forward in making an environment more accessible.
We had many laughs and so much fun while we worked, the spirits of everyone involved were very high the entire time!
Thanks for having us Katanning, we had a blast!
Check out a video slideshow of our photos from the trip to Katanning with the YEP Crew:
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