Online learning platform for parents of younger children with intellectual disabilities
Coordinated by Forth, a digital learning platform was developed that provides interactive educational modules that cover the main areas identified that families of PWID need training, awareness raising and/or attitude change. The modules cover issues posing main challenges in the lives of families with PWID, with special focus on younger children.
The topics, focusing on this new target group of parents with smaller children are around the following agenda:
- Road to getting a diagnosis – Collaboration with professionals and development at home – Inclusive and specialised education choices
- Universal design – Family and community inclusion
- Parent well-being
The platform includes tutorial videos for parents of children aged 0-7 years showing practical ideas that can be performed at home every day targeting all developmental areas. We aim to help parents how to “be together” at home with the child in a way that is not a direct development, yet is contributing to the development of the child. We equip the parents with the capacity to recognize any delay, or unusual pattern in the development of their child, providing a set of objective observational criteria in the various fields of development. These will clearly show if there is any lag. We plan to include parents of children with both visible and invisible disabilities. We show examples of what are those situations, those movements that work as therapy while being part of the everyday. We also re-teach parents how to play, as playing is one of the most essential and efficient means of development in a child’s life. This tool helps to release the tension from the parent’s shoulder, as parents often feel not only helpless but also feel the pressure that they should provide professional therapy for their children at home, however, they are not qualified for that. They will feel more competent and self-confident by knowing what they do and how they do it, their mental wellbeing will also improve.
The online course is available in English, Greek, Hungarian, and Portuguese.
Case management system handbook
When parents face the fact that their children need professional help in their development, they are often confused: where to start, which therapy to choose, how long to do each of them. Due to their lack of information and despair to do as much as possible within the shortest possible time, they may choose therapies that are counterproductive to each other, as therapists do not communicate with each other. They are looking for answers online, not necessarily finding the most appropriate solutions and therapies. Ideally, there would be a group of experts consisting of movement therapists, speech therapists, psychologists, etc, who see the child as a “case” and would evaluate the condition and suggest the next therapy needed.
We put together a methodological handbook/guide/toolkit to establish such case-management centers, that would enable helpers and any key figures in the life of the child to start to work as a team and to communicate with each other, evaluate the current condition of the child and suggest the next step. This would release the parent from the responsibility of deciding about the therapies without having the necessary knowledge.
The target group of this are the therapists and the parents.
Training and mentoring framework for parent and peer advocates
In several policy papers released by both European and foreign organizations, the inclusion of pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SENDs) in daily classrooms has been described as a high priority. However, its implementation is affected by a variety of factors, some of which relate directly to the involvement and attitudes of the various stakeholders, including teachers and parents of typically developed children. Teachers and parents may behave in favor of inclusion, or embrace more divided educational environments.
The role of this IO is to inform and involve teachers and parents of typically developing children in efforts to promote more inclusive practices. This target will be met by creating a training toolkit with the title “Better together” that will be addressed to parents of children without SENDs and teachers in order to change negative attitudes and inform them about the benefits of coeducation. Children with SENDs and their parents will be directly involved in the development of the training material and they will share their personal stories promoting a positive model of diversity underpinning the positive contributions of every person in the learning process.
Intellectual Disability Inclusion Advocacy toolkit
This intellectual output is designed to support the implementation and exploitation of all other intellectual outputs by offering tools for advocacy. The Toolkit itself is tartgeting parent leaders and community educators that can use the tools for their own advocacy work towards the implementation of the PAT approach, a joyful inclusion approach focusing on the parents of PWID. The secondary target group of the Toolkit is decision makers at all levels of policy and practice with a special focus on national and local level policymakers, school leaders and other leading practitioners, as well as labour market stakeholders. It will combine knowledge and experience in education policy advocacy in general with the PAT approach creating an innovative toolkit not only by the innovative nature of the approach but also by including tools and methodology that provide an opportunity for the policymaker to experience the power of joyful learning as well as putting themselves in the shoes of parents – either through their own role as a parent or the memories of being parented in their childhood. The Toolkit is aiming at policy change at primarily the level of the school and community, but also at higher levels, especially by the recognition of inclusion needs and catering for them. The Toolkit will be developed in English as an online tool and national versions will be created for Greece, Portugal and Hungary.
Its further transferability will be based on two factors. First of all, it will implement at an approach that takes cultural diversity and the different realities of European school systems into consideration. Secondly, there will be a built-in AI translator in the tool making it available in other language contexts. Transferability will also be supported by a glossary of terms.