A review of effective support to strengthen the autonomy of people with intellectual disability
Adult people with intellectual disabilities – due to learning difficulties – are the group which has a need of longer and repetitive training throughout life. They need more time to gain basic life skills like: communication in mother tongue (e.g. easy-to-read texts, alternative augmentative communication); mathematical competence (e.g. money management); digital competence (e.g. using internet to look for information, communicate with others, apply for a job) or learning to learn (e.g. difficulties with time management, organization of activities). As long as adults with intellectual disabilities will not achieve independence in everyday basic activities they will not be able to fully participate in the society and benefit from all civil rights. Thus adults with intellectual disability require competent support and guidance based on increasing their self-reliance, not on replacing them in their responsibilities and challenges! There is a constant need of creating better and more complex lifelong learning programs for this group.
Project entitled “Review of effective support to strengthen the autonomy of people with intellectual disability” called shortly RESPID PROJECT is addressed to adult educators and to persons with ID and is aimed at answering a question “How to support effectively adults with intellectual disabilities on their way to independent life and autonomy?” The project is financed from Erasmus + Program, action KA2 – Adult Education, Strategic Partnership. Project has started in September 2016 and will finish in October 2017.
Four NGO’s – Polish Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability, Rytmus from Czech Republic, Il Cerchio Cooperativa from Italy and Association for Help to People With Intellectual Disabilities in The Slovak Republic – were asking themselves the same question and that’s how the idea of RESPID project appeared. Experience of partners shows that gaining independence in one area (e.g. employment) triggers willingness of persons with intellectual disabilities to be independent also in other areas of life (e.g. move out from parents house). Sometimes the beginning of this process is forced by difficult life events (such as a loss of parent/s).
Such situations are forcing adult educators – sometimes the only support persons – to use their knowledge and resources to help their clients to overcome life crisis.
Issues addressed in this project are:
1) cooperation with parents in order to support independence of their adult children;
2) supporting people with ID in the process of mourning after death of their parents;
3) implementing supported employment;
4) establishing supported living (deinstitutionalization process, living in local communities);
5) supporting parenthood of people with ID;
6) learning to organize their free time (establish a social network).
The main objective of the project is to exchange good practices in above mentioned topics and create a review of effective methods to provide know-how for professionals (adult educators) working with adults with intellectual disabilities. This will enable adult educators to provide adequate and complex support for their clients.
Each partner will contribute to the project activities emphasizing the areas where they have implemented good practices. Partner from Italy will share their knowledge on augmentative alternative communication (AAC), Polish association will show effective methods of supported employment and independent living. In Czech Republic and Slovakia the deinstitutionalization process is undertaken by local authorities and associations are implementing innovative projects to enable this change. Slovakian partner has well established methods of providing education for self-advocacy groups and will share know-how on the methods of independent decision-making (focusing on the example of teaching people with ID how to organize their free time and build social networks).
The most important result of RESPID project will be a compilation of effective methods of strengthening the autonomy of adult people with ID. Knowledge on efficient methods of supporting the autonomy of people with ID will be collected during project activities (national partner activities and 5 transnational meetings). Review of good practices will be presented on projects’ website along with the recommendations for further development
Another important outcome foreseen in the project will be the presentation of experience of persons with ID – video surveys, interviews, photos (also available on projects’ website after each project meeting). Partners will interview their clients and create multimedia information on their personal experience. This will enable their clients – persons with ID – to speak for themselves in accordance to the motto “Nothing about us without us!”
A few words about project partners:
The Polish Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability (PSONI) works for the benefit and on the behalf of persons with intellectual disability living in Poland, their parents and legal guardians. For more information please visit: www.psoni.org.pl
The mission of Rytmus from Czech Republic is to make it possible for people with disabilities to pursue active involvement in the mainstream environment – in employment, at school and in the place where they live. For more information please visit: www.rytmus.org
The areas of intervention of the IL CERCHIO Cooperative from Italy are: Minor and Childhood, Disability, Elderly. The Cooperative is proactively organized in terms of service design, offering the activation of innovative services in order to bring benefits to the whole community through the improvement of the conditions of the users and their families. For more information please visit: www.ilcerchio.ra.it
The Association for Help to People with Intellectual Disabilities in The Slovak Republic (ZPMP v SR) is a non-government and non profit organization. Main purpose ZPMP v SR is general support of activities and measures aimed in favor of children, youth and adult people with intellectual disabilities. For more information please visit: www.zpmpvsr.sk