Q&A: Danielle & Jocelyn of AT Chat

Published on July 19, 2018
Categories - Blog, Events, Featured, Homepage, Q&A

On Saturday 28 & Sunday 29 July 2018, the Disrupted Festival of Ideas returns to the State Library of WA with a program of free keynotes, panels and workshops across a weekend of conversations and creativity.

At 12.30pm on Sunday you can join a panel who understand the significant impact Assistive Technology can have on those in need. Kira caught up with Perth locals Danielle Loizou-Lake & Jocelyn Fransiscus of AT Chat ahead of their appearance.

Danielle Loizou-Lake and Jocelyn Franciscus of AT Chat

Danielle is project lead for the Independent Living Centre WA’s innovative AT Chat project.  Over the past 20 years she has created and implemented many successful population health initiatives.

Jocelyn, an Occupational Therapist, is a key member of the AT Chat team. Committed to giving people with Spinal Cord Injury access to AT, Jos is the creator of Cord, raising funds for Spinal Cord Injury.

For those of us who aren’t aware, can you tell us a bit about the Independent Living Centre WA? 

Danielle: The Independent Living Centre WA is a NFP established in 1977 that provides people with disability and those who are ageing with professional allied health support and advice around assistive technology, home modifications, drivers assessment, carer support and respite and grants for equipment.

What is AT Chat and how did it come about? 

D: AT Chat is Australia’s first peer led assistive technology information and support initiative where people with disability share their lived experiences to support others in finding assistive technology solutions.

What would you like people to know about Assistive Technology? 

D: That it is not just high technology [like electronics] – it is any equipment, device or system that assists a person with a disability in independence, for example, wheelchairs, modified cutlery and communication aids.

Jocelyn: Exactly, and I would add that it can often be found in mainstream devices – hiding in plain sight.

Danielle, what has being named one of the ’40 under 40′ in 2015 meant for you?

D: At the time I was sole Director of a health promotion consultancy, and it was isolating running a business independently, with little opportunity for feedback on my work.  The 40 under 40 came just after I sold my business and confirmed to me that I was doing well and my efforts were worth recognition. It was a wonderful way to complete that chapter of my career.

Jocelyn, you’ve raised over $250,000 towards access for those with a spinal cord injury through Cord, which is another significant feat! What advice would you give to someone who is passionate about raising money for a cause?

J: My best advice is: Just start! Start something small and manageable whether it be an online campaign like Everyday Hero or a social get-together with mates to raise a kitty to donate. It’s not always about raising funds though, my good friend is campaigning for people to donate blood and plasma. In many ways, it’s more valuable than any dollar amount. I encourage anyone to give fundraising for a cause a go – it’s incredibly good for the soul and makes for a better community too.

Congratulations on the National Disability Support Awards for Innovation nomination! What other projects have you been inspired by?

D: It was a very tough field, and we were thrilled to be recognised as finalists. We find inspiration all around us and it often comes from work in other areas of humanities and community development.  With the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the disability sector is undergoing significant change and we are required to shift our paradigm and think differently.  With AT Chat we look at successful projects across the world and discuss the factors that lead to success, which we then use as tools in our strategic processes and development.

What is next for both of you?

D: We just received funding from the federal government to develop the initiative into a national, Australia wide Assistive Technology peer mentoring model.  It’s the first time this will be done and we are looking forward to the challenge and two years of intense design, development and trial across Australia. Entirely implemented by people with disability for people with disability, it’s very exciting!

What are your top picks for Disrupted this year?

D: Our panel on Assistive Technology with Assoc. Professor Munjed Al Muderis, Professor Jane Burns and facilitated by Griffin Longley is lining up to be very exciting.

J: Agreed; also Professor Genevieve Bell’s discussion about the complexities of ethics within the changing technology landscape on the Saturday will be fascinating. We are honoured to be a part of this year’s line up of panelists.

Danielle Loizou-Lake & Jocelyn Franciscus

Scientists and technologists routinely achieve amazing things that improve the quality and length of life for people all over the world with the creation of bionic limbs, touch screens and mental health apps. The Disrupted Assistive Technology panel is facilitated by Griffin Longley with speakers Dr Munjed al Muderis, Professor Jane Burns, Danielle Loizou-Lake and Jocelyn Franciscus.

The Disrupted Festival of Ideas is happening at the State Library of WA on 28 & 29 July. The theme this year is technology and its impact on humanity. There will be over 30 Australian guests ranging from anthropologists, writers, journalists and scientists. Browse the full program here. 

Tags - , , , ,