Teen Seeks Sign of New Friends; Move to Yeppoon Held Back by Deafness

Article excerpt

Byline: Sharyn O'Neill sharyn.oneill@capnews.com.au

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. …