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A social network for people with disability

Thu, 16 Feb 2017, 01:15 PM

Ellie Cooper, Pro Bono News, 15 February 2017
 
Dale Reardon launched the My Disability Matters Club, a social enterprise for people with disability, to provide a safe and easy-to-use space to connect, share ideas, seek advice and find support.
 
Reardon, who is blind, says existing social media sites are not optimised for people with disability.
 
“Myself personally, and friends as well, particularly the vision impaired people I knew, were having lots of problems using Facebook,” Reardon says.
 
“Even though they’ve got an accessibility team, it has a lot of problems and can be quite difficult to use.”
 
He says people with disability also experience bullying or trolling on social media, especially when discussing disability issues.
 
“I’ve personally experienced bullying on social media and I know a lot of other disabled people have as well,” he says.
 
“It can range from bullying based on their looks if they put up photos, to just telling them that they’re worthless. I’ve had tweets telling me that all disabled people should be dead and you’re just a drain on society. All sorts of criticism and intolerance.
 
“I was wanting to create a more safe, respectful and tolerant environment.”
 
Reardon says the functions of the site are “very similar to Facebook”.
 
Users create a profile where they can enter information and updates, and connect with friends and follow people. There is also personal messaging and group chat.
 
The My Disability Matters Club then offers other features to make it more accessible for people with disability.
 
“You can monitor new updates and discussions via email, which doesn’t work very well with Facebook,” Reardon says.
 
“And we’re hoping to develop, in the future, the ability to fully post as well via email, because some of our members have requested that.”
 
Along with Facebook-like functions, Reardon wanted to provide discussion forums on the site for people with disability to share experiences and seek advice, particularly with the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
 
“There’s been lots of people introducing themselves, explaining the disabilities that they’ve got, talking about schooling or work problems, or unfortunately problems with getting adequate government support, questions about the NDIS of course, wanting to keep updated on information,” Reardon says.
 
[...]
 
Read: the full article at Pro Bono News
 

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