EMPOWERING DISABLED PERSONS THROUGH COLLABORATIVE LEARNING / IDIPOWER
With one billion persons living with disabilities, 80% of those in developing nations, a sound global development agenda cannot ignore disabilities, a key driver of exclusion and poverty (The ICT Opportunity for a Disability-Inclusive Development Framework United Nations 2013).
Article 24 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) fully recognizes the rights of persons with disabilities to education, without discrimination. A Right to Education is the key to allow persons with disabilities to reach their human potential and to enable them full participation in a free society like everybody else http://www.easpd.eu/en/content/inclusive-education#sthash.wQlLqk3h.dpuf.
Services for people with disabilities have traditionally been provided in segregated institutions. They are moving from institutional care to community living. That requires community based services to support models for people with disabilities, offering them a choice over where and with whom they live and providing the necessary support for community participation and independently living in the community, taking as a reference the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (World Health Organization, WHO) and the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities of United Nations.
This reorientation changes the roles of support service providers. Rather than being service ‘recipients’, people become active participants in planning and obtaining the supports they feel will best meet their needs and goals.
Whilst service providers retain a responsibility for service quality and outcomes, their role is more in enabling, providing advice and support to help people with a disability to become as much independent as possible.
These approaches are important for the empowerment of disabled persons, which is the process of enabling people to increase control over their lives, to gain control over the factors and decisions that shape their lives, to increase their resources and qualities and to build capacities to gain access, partners, networks, a voice, in order to gain control. Empowerment is now increasingly used and connected to social development groups such as poor people, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous people and marginalized people.
The majority of people with a disability are able to make and act on their own decisions in life. However there are situations, particularly where people have a cognitive disability, complex support needs and/or communication difficulties, where people may need some assistance. The amount of assistance depends on personal circumstances.
The main objective of the project is to contribute to a reorientation of the role of support services for people with disabilities so that they become active participants in planning and obtaining the support they feel will best meet their needs and goals and help them to be as much independent as possible. Harmonized methodologies and tools, based on successful best practices of support systems will be developed. Cooperative learning approaches involving people with disabilities, trainers, families will be developed within the support systems to empower people and increase their awareness in such systems. ICT will be used to support efficient information, communication and cooperation in this context.
The support approach and involvement will be provided in such a way as to ensure that the person with a disability is still making the decision. Inclusive ICT will be used to increase the efficiency of support approach.
Some factors to be considered which could hinder the broad implementation of this Support Model are:
- Lack of awareness about the potential of the Support Model and evidences of its success.
- Lack of resources and communication needed to coordinate and organize Support Networks formed by persons with disabilities, families, professionals and other community stakeholders.
- Lack of necessary knowledge and skills to facilitate the participation of disabled persons and promoting their independent living.
- Existence of several different methodologies tools and approaches for implementing the theoretical foundations of the support approach.
• Measures to increase awareness about the usefulness and potential of such Support Model
• Increased cooperation among every stakeholder involved in the Support Networks, improving the effectiveness of the actions carried by professionals and families.
• Harmonized methodologies and tools, based on successful best practices
• Practical cases, which enforce the credibility of the Support Model, the skills of professionals and families and self-esteem of persons with disabilities
Cooperative learning approaches involving people with disabilities, trainers.
- An ICT platform to support efficient information, communication, cooperation and an inclusive education in this context.