Inclusion through Technology #GAAD2017

Thursday 18 May 2017

An important part of our work at Cedar involves supporting service users to participate as equal citizens in an increasingly on-line society.  This includes promoting access to individualised technology solutions that enable and enhance the economic and community inclusion for people with disabilities. To help underpin and develop the organisation’s work in this area Cedar is currently developing an Inclusion Through Technology Strategy.

To help develop the Strategy Cedar is undertaking extensive consultation with service users and staff. Through the consultation we want to find out how our service users are currently using digital technology and what support they may need to improve this. We also want to assess the current level of skill and confidence which our staff teams have in using digital technologies themselves and in supporting service users to do so. This will help us identify training and information staff may need to support service users to take advantage of the opportunities that digital and assistive technologies present.

Nearly 350 service users and staff from all Cedars services completed a recent survey designed to capture their views and support needs regarding digital technology. The key findings from the survey will be used to help identify priorities for action within the Inclusion Through Technology Strategy.

Examples of where we already use inclusive technology widely include our Supported Living services in Lisburn and Belfast which use SMART Technology so that individuals can control their homes environment and maximise independence. Our Inclusion Works service also supports and advises service uses on technology which they can use in work or training environments. We also contribute to research in the field and in particular are on the the key partners in the Aide project, a European funded project aimed at developing computer systems that can enable people with limited mobility and communication, to control their environment and be more included in society.  Within the project Cedar will explore robotic arms and exoskeletons. Exoskeletons are devices that a person wears on their body, which are connected to a computer and will help with movement.

Some videos showing our work can be viewed on our YouTube channel in particular this one on accessible technology in employment and training at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGzfkIjRNes

 

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