A group of twenty teenagers at Parkdale Secondary College will put their new-found knowledge on disability to the test when they assist 16 adults living with disability learn to ice-skate at the O’Brien Group Arena.

Leading disability service provider Scope, has piloted a new, innovative program aimed at teaching over 2000 Victorian high school students appropriate ways to communicate with people with a disability and providing opportunities to put their new knowledge into real-world scenarios.

The program is an extension of Scope’s disability awareness program, See The Person that teaches students appropriate ways to communicate and engage people with a disability.

The program offers students the opportunity to apply these learnings in a one-to-one setting, how to take the initiative and offer support and how to communicate with people who use alternate communication.

Scope Manager Denise West said the program was designed to further inclusion opportunities for people with a disability through encouraging positive attitudes.

‘Scope’s See The Person program seeks to empower students to engage people with a disability and create a positive attitudinal shift in the way the young people view disability,’ said Ms. West.

‘If we are able to pass down these attitudes to the next generation, this will be essential in allowing every person with a disability to live as an equal and empowered citizen and for society to be more inclusive of people with a disability.’

Students say the program made them more confident and comfortable in approaching people with disability and the program currently holds a 92% satisfaction rating from participants.

One in five people in Australia currently live with some form of disability, and it is estimated up to 50,000 Australians use communication tools (electronic and paper-based) to communicate.

A research project on disability attitudes by University of New South Wales found that 56% of people with a disability stated barriers barriers in social inclusion and community participation prevented them from fully participating in the community.

The All Abilities Ice Skating program is an initiative of Scope’s Community Inclusion team. Together with the support of O’Brien Group Arena, it provides opportunities for people with severe and multiple disabilities to ice skate, be active and learn a new sport.

What: Twenty Year 10 students who have recently been educated in interacting and engaging with people with disability, assisting people with disability learn how to play ice-sports
Where: O’Brien Group Arena, 105 Pearl River Rd, Docklands 3008
When: 10:00am to 12:30pm, Wednesday March 15th
Filming opportunities:
• Teenagers assisting people with a range of disabilities (including physical, intellectual, complex and multiple) take to the ice to skate and play ice-hockey.
• Teenagers interacting and engaging with people with disability on a one-to-one basis
• Interview opportunities with students of the program and Scope General Manager Denise West.

About Scope

Scope’s mission is to enable each person to live as an empowered and equal citizen.
We support people with physical, intellectual and multiple disabilities and developmental delays to achieve their goals.
Across Victoria, Scope provides services to over 6,000 people with a disability across more than 100 service locations.
Scope also works with corporate and community organisations to improve inclusiveness for people with a disability.
Scope’s foundations stretch back to 1948, when a group of parents who wanted better lives and options for their children with disabilities established the Spastic Children’s Society of Victoria.
Scope acknowledges the support of the Victorian Government.

For media enquires please contact:
Ai-Lin Chang
Media Relations Coordinator
T: 03 9843 2086
E: achang@scopeaust.org.au

A PDF version of the media release can be found here.