e-Buddies in Action!
This is a new segment of the e-Beat! Each month we will highlight a school or agency involved in e-Buddies. Our hope is that this will be an opportunity to share some of the challenges and triumphs encountered through group participation in e-Buddies!
This month, we spoke with Kathy Alaee from Community Living Guelph Wellington in Ontario, Canada!
How long has your group been involved in e-Buddies?
Our group has been involved since August 2003.
How many members are currently matched with e-Buddies?
We have 28 members currently matched.
What are some key challenges you have faced and overcome?
Some of the challenges include clients with limited verbal ability or speech impairments who despite their added challenge desperately want to be involved in e-Buddies.
How do you make e-Buddies work with your group?
We receive help from primary caregivers at home who sit with these individuals and write down their weekend activities and upcoming events. The individual then brings the list to work for e-Buddy time. This, along with picture cues, has been very successful in helping clients share their experiences and feelings with their e-Buddies. Our 28 clients each have a scheduled e-Buddy time during the week. With the help of occasional
volunteers and regular staff we are able to sit with individuals and offer them support as they compose and type their letters.
What have your group members gained by participating in e-Buddies?
Our participants have gained a great deal from the program with increased self-esteem, improved social skills, and overall communication. The greatest benefit has come from the awareness of others in different parts of the world. We use large wall maps of Canada, United States, and the World to find our e-Buddies and see the physical distance between us. Often individuals with an intellectual disability are very self-aware. We teach
them about their immediate community but not about the world around them. The discovery that we share so much in common with our e-Buddies in a different country; like interests and hobbies, while experiencing such differences in weather, traditions, and holidays has helped our participants expand their views and see themselves as part of a bigger world. Our group is so excited to be part of this program and we look forward to adding more participants in the future.
Greetings from the folks at Community Living Guelph Wellington!
Do you work with a group of e-Buddies participants? We'd love to feature your group here! Please contact us at email@example.com.
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