Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How you rate BLOOM

By Louise Kinross

What do people most often read on BLOOM?

“Real family stories” is the most popular content on our blog and in our magazine and e-letter, according to our summer survey that drew 189 respondents.

“It is great from a parent perspective to know you are not alone and there are so many common threads to parenting special needs children, no matter what the disability,” one respondent wrote. BLOOM “celebrates real families and highlights their strengths and their journey” wrote another.

In answer to What topics do you read most on BLOOM, “Real family stories” ranked first, followed by Disability news, Parenting tips, experiences and resources, Growing up (life skills), Research and Disability rights and ethics. Ranking lowest were Role models, Respite, Books and Friends. Of course this is  the perspective of the almost 200 people who filled out the survey. It will help guide our focus in the future, but you can continue to expect a wide range of articles on BLOOM.

When asked what you would like to see more of, Disability and education, Fun and recreation, Travelling with a disability, Disability and employment and Apps and technology scored highest. You said you were least interested in adoption and accessible clothes.

In terms of conditions you want to read more about, developmental disabilities rated highest, followed by cerebral palsy, communication problems and mental illness.

Respondents said they are most interested in print stories, less interested in photo galleries and inspiring quotes, and least interested in video.

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn are the most used social media networks among respondents. Given that 85 per cent of BLOOM’s social referral traffic comes from Facebook, we launched a new
BLOOM Facebook page recently and plan to focus on that network the most. Please visit and "like" us to get regular updates.

Of survey readers who had children, 27% of those youth are under age eight, 57% are between nine and 20 and 16% are over 20. Professionals make up 28% of all respondents and 5% are adults with disabilities. In terms of visiting the BLOOM blog, 31% said they come once a month, 23% a few times a month and 20% visit once a week or once a day.

Most respondents live in Canada, although readers from the U.S., France, Switzerland, Honk Kong, Argentina and New Zealand also filled out the survey. Only 62% of you receive the BLOOM e-letter, and most prefer to receive it monthly.
Click here if you'd like to sign up (you can remove your name at any time).

Thank you for sharing a broad range of publications and websites you enjoy on disability and parenting. There are too many to name here but we will outreach to them and add them to our sites of interest in the future.

Our respondents were generous in providing feedback on the BLOOM e-letter, magazine and on the blog in general. Here is a small sampling of your suggestions.

“Superb writing, articles and editing. Interesting intelligent, insightful and compassionate. Local and international. Reflects diverse experiences socio economic and cultural. The content also often challenges existing stereotypes and attitudes and social constructs and societal beliefs about disability!!! Celebrates real familes and highlights their strengths and their journey!”

“Bloom needs its own Twitter account!”

“I LOVE the BLOOM newsletter! It is always informative, insightful and inspiring! I am always so happy to see it in my in-box and I try to read it right away.”

“I love the print version of Bloom—I was sad to hear it was being discontinued—such a great resource to physically share with other families...”

“Try to avoid duplication of print and online articles and stories.”

“The content of BLOOM is excellent. But often times, it is very difficult to read the whole long article. I would appreciate if they are shorter.”

“More articles on what parents would find useful from a professional.”

“Companies that make useful products for people with disabilities.”

“Please name and describe scientists, students, funding sources, partnerships and publications more fully and accurately.”

 “BLOOM is super as it is! Keep up the great work! And a huge heartfelt THANK YOU. I really appreciate and benefit from the BLOOM blog.”

“Would appreciate accessibility for videos (captioning or a transcript).”

“You're doing a magnificent job. BLOOM keeps me connected to the larger disability community and I really appreciate that. It's not just one silo and I think that's really important.”

 “Please discontinue sending printed copies to every staff member; it is not environmentally responsible.”

“I think BLOOM is amazing and covers so much relevant information that is so helpful and useful. It is also great to get the international perspective as I don't think there is another newsletter that has that type of coverage.”

I would like to see more opinion from the editor. Once in a while a hard-hitting opinion piece about policy would be great.”

“I look forward to reading BLOOM’s offering every day when I come into work (I’m on the West coast so it’s in my box by the time I arrive). I find it a very useful look at the way parents think and a corrective sometimes to my own biases.”

“It’s a great compilation of news, advice and personal stories. I always find several articles to read, learn and ponder in BLOOM. And almost every issue has a story or observation with which I identify as a parent. It’s so reassuring to know there are other parents working through the same issues, struggling, succeeding, sometimes failing, but moving forward as best we can.”

As an update, in response to your comments, we are no longer producing the magazine version of BLOOM. Print and postage costs were expensive and we want to capitalize on reaching people online. We will be launching a Twitter account in the near future. We know we need to caption our videos. We don’t have a dedicated resource for this but are working on it.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide such rich input on what you like and don’t like about BLOOM, and how we can improve. You also provided us with a ton of amazing story ideas which we plan to follow up on. We are very grateful!