Using Digital Technologies to Help People with Disabilities Achieve their Goals

A presentation for the Inner West Disability Forum - 20/10/2018

Presented by Sean FitzGerald


My Background

  • 1987-1992 - Degree in Fine Arts (Multimedia)
  • 1995-2004 - Internet training & website development for not-for-profits & community groups.
  • 2004-2008 - Consultancy & training in educational technology/online learning/elearning.

My Journey

  • Mid 2016 - became aware that many people with mental health issues struggled with digital access. Either they didn’t have a phone, or had one and didn’t know how to use it or kept running out of data. Realised the importance of digital inclusion through digital access and digital literacy.
  • Early 2017 - started developing workshops, but only ran one presentation - couldn’t find clients due to change in funding from block to individual.
  • From mid 2017 - running a weekly tech club at Flourish Australia's Buckingham House activity centre (see flyer).
  • Late 2017 - became NDIS-registered so I could do one-on-one tutoring, and get my foot in the door of the disability industry.

Phase One – One-on-One Tutoring

Started in January 2018.

Two types of client:

  1. Independent, high cognitive capacity, mainly physical disabilities, more sophisticated questions, teach and go.
  2. High dependency & support needs, liaise with carer & support workers, intellectual disabilities &/or severe mental health issues, basic questions, need lots of structure, guidance & support, ongoing sessions.
  • How I operate – assessments, support workers, manuals, client-created instructions, handouts.
  • Work with clients to identify how technology can help them to achieve their goals (see handout).
  • Good research opportunity to learn what participants need and how to deliver it.
  • Systematising the process – easier for me & preparation for future programs.

Phase Two – Group Training

Training / Workshops / Presentations.

Can be for:

  • Participants – line item - Skills Development In A Group
  • Carers – line item - Training for Carers/Parents
  • Support workers - Digital Literacy Program
  • Talking to – service providers, support worker labour hire agencies, disability employment services, peak bodies, allied health professionals.

Sample Topics:

  • Researching, buying & using digital devices - smartphones, tablets and computers.
  • Selecting the best phone and Internet plans.
  • Basic tips for getting the most out of phones – how to reduce data usage, free wifi, power-saving tips.
  • Finding and installing smartphone apps (Android & iPhone).
  • Accessibility options - in the device & apps.
  • Using social media for self-expression and/or support.
  • Cyber-security & Cyber-safety

Technologies & Online Activities

Other Projects



Digital Technology Education

Phone: 0404 130 342