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Making technology work for everybody: a successful learning experience at AIAS Bologna

Lebenshilfe organisations throughout Austria adopted the systematic implementation of person centred technology in service provision as an important target for organisational development.  The Erasmus+ funded project “Better lives through person centred technology” provides the opportunity to learn from international examples of good practice.

In November 2017 delegates from seven Lebenshilfe organisations attended the first training at AIAS Bologna, which was tailored to their interests and learning needs. CEOs, service managers, experts in assistive technology, and occupational therapists had used a German version of the Entelis self-assessment tool for service providers to reflect on the current situation in their organisations and prepare for the learning event.

Three trainers at AIAS Bologna shared their expertise and experience on how to make technology work for people with disabilities, and on how to design services in the assistive technology field. Through lectures as well as a guided tour through an up-to-date showroom and smart homes the participants got a good overview on critical success factors, and were able to learn about the specificities of the model developed and implemented in Bologna. Group work and other interactive parts of the training offered opportunities to transfer the acquired knowledge to the Austrian situation and to plan on strategies for restructuring service provision in their organisations.

The Lebenshilfe participants expressed high satisfaction with the scope of the program, the expertise of the trainers, and the relevance and transferability of what they learnt.
In their reflections they already created a complex picture for the next steps that need to be taken in Austria. It became clear for them, that isolated action by single organisations does not have much impact. To really improve the lives of persons with disability they want to “think big”, implement PCT in all Lebenshilfe organisations, take into account all aspects of the issue and cooperate with many important stakeholders.

Lorenzo Desideri, one of the trainers of AIAS Bologna Participants actively involved in design of service delivery concepts
The Lebenshilfe organisations will use their joint forces for adaptations, restructuring of current services, implementation of new services like independent expert centres, and lobbying for better legal and financial frameworks.

For 2018 two more trainings are scheduled visiting examples of good practice in the UK. Both Hft and Learning Disability Wales work with us on tailoring learning events for the specific interests of our participants.
After the trainings, all delegates will meet to work on strategies and measures for implementation in Austria building on the acquired knowledge and the creative ideas triggered during the learning events with international experts.

Karin Astegger

Lebenshilfe Salzburg