EFFECTIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND TOOLS FOR IMPROVING PROFESSIONALS’ AND USERS’ COMMUNICATION IN DISABILITY SETTINGS
AbstractCommunication with individuals who suffer from a severe intellectual disability is a challenging task for professionals. Technological aids have often been put forward as useful tools. However, most well-known programs are usually designed for disabled people who can perform a certain number of tasks and have some skills for communication. Subjects with severe intellectual disability are seldom the target of research and the training of professionals working with them is hardly properly matched. To fill this gap a group of researchers of the ongoing European project EC+ gather to created friendly communication tools with scientific information and multimodal resources to offer professionals and future professionals (university students) tools, materials, and strategies to communicate with users by means of mobile applications using agile technologies, which will improve communication and hence the quality of staff performance and will reduce stressful situations for both groups, the disabled and workers. The tools were assessed by trainees and professionals in the field of healthcare, education, and community interpreting. The present article focuses on the first and second stages of the EC+ project, which aims to engage professionals and students in seminars, online courses and the completion of questionnaires based on their experience, suggestions, and needs. Research shows that the object of the project is really substantial and hence suggests a further improvement for the work of professionals and therefore is extremely beneficial for the intellectual disabled community. Precise scientific training in several syndromes that hinder communication skills, multimodal tools and the provision of friendly agile technologies draws a promising scenario in this particular field. The results of the questionnaires sent by trainees after the following courses show that they have considerably improved their professional skills and gained self-confidence.
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