Joshua Campbell is a typical teenager, chatting with his friends by text or email but the newcomer to the region is looking for people who can communicate with him in sign language.
Joshua Campbell is a typical teenager, chatting with his friends by text or email but the newcomer to the region is looking for people who can communicate with him in sign language. Sharyn Oneill So

Teen seeks sign of new friends

FRIENDS wanted. Must be typical teenagers and be able to do sign language.

Worried that her grandson was spending too much time at home, Leah Barnes had considered placing a classified ad to help him find friends.

Joshua Campbell is like any other teenager on the coast, who wants to hang out with friends, go to parties and get a job.

But the thing holding him back is that he is deaf and communicates face to face with sign language, and he is yet to meet others his age in the region like him.

“He just wants to make friends with other deaf people,” Leah said.

The 18-year-old moved to Yeppoon from Mount Isa last November, to live with his grandparents after finishing school.

Leah said the move to the region was meant to be about making more opportunities for Josh, a change from the isolation of Mt Isa and to broaden his horizons.

But so far he had struggled to find friends, simply because, with limited local services available for teens, he didn’t know where to start looking.

Josh keeps in contact with his mates back in Mt Isa through text messages, facebook and email, but, Leah said, still needs to make friends locally.

As for the work search, Josh hopes to become a hairdresser, after working part-time in a salon in Mt Isa.

Fiona Noon, from Community Employment Options Inc, said they would be able to help Josh, and others in similar circumstances, to find work.

Fiona said they did an assessment of individual needs and goals, helped them find a job, and followed on with support once they were in the workplace.

“Ongoing support has provided a huge success for people in the region,” Fiona said.

Contacts for the deaf

Youth online (chat space for ages 12-20)www.deafchildrenaustralia.org.au/youth_online

Deaf Services Queensland www.deafservicesqld.org.au

Queensland Deaf Society www.qds.org.au

Community Employment Options www.employment.org.au

Can you communicate with Josh? Contact Sharyn O’Neill at the Yeppoon office of The Morning Bulletin on 4939 3417 or email sharyn.oneill@capnews.com.au



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