Since 2014 Austrian Lebenshilfe organisations have been working together to reduce the digital divide for persons with disability enabling them to access the digital world, participate in modern society, get information and opportunities for learning and personal development, increasing their independence and opportunities to enjoy mainstream services and resources as everyone else.
One of our strategies to achieve positive outcomes for persons with learning disability was to acquire knowledge through international learning opportunities with the Erasmus+ funded project “Better lives through person centred technology” visiting AIAS Bologna in Italy, hft and Learning Disability Wales in the UK in 2017 and 2018.
Lebenshilfe managers and staff learned a lot about how to provide independent information and advice for persons with learning disabilities and their families, how to provide training for different stakeholders, and how to implement PCT systematically in everyday support for service users. The acquired knowledge helped implement innovative approaches and raise awareness of important stakeholders throughout Austria. Through joint reflection we updated our mid and long term goals and strategies, and identified additional learning needs.
The Erasmus+ National Agency considered our project a best practice example and encouraged us to submit a follow-up application, which was successful.
The project “Specific approaches for benefitting from person centred technology”* enables us to visit PIKSL in Germany, Saint John of God Community Services in Ireland and KVPS in Finland. We will be able to broaden our views on issues already addressed by the first project and explore new topics, e.g.co-production and technology use in self-advocacy, peer-teaching by persons with learning disabilities, and co-development of technology by researchers and end-users.
As co-production tools and inclusive approaches are an important focus for organisational development, persons with learning disability will participate in the trainings, get first-hand experiences, make an important contribution to organisational development, and engage in peer-roles.
We plan to use the acquired competence to tailor learning environments, training methods, and material. We want to train peer-instructors and co-researches with learning disability and work more extensively with them. Co-production tools will be used to integrate technology more effectively in person-centred support, and possibilities for independent information and advice will be set-up within Austrian legal and financial frameworks.
*Co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the european Union