Apps that can change the lives of people with Down’s syndrome for the better
By Vanda Ridley, Communications Manager, DSA
If you are wondering what I am talking about, the DSA have exciting news to share with you so please read on!
I had the good fortune of spending two days in Oslo on 11/12 November for a project kick off meeting. The project team included members from Britain, myself representing the DSA and Juan Augusto from Middlesex University, members from the National Down’s Syndrome Associations of Germany and Norway and members from a number of small technology research and development companies based in Germany, Sweden and Norway. What project you may ask? The Poseidon Project. Remember that name as you will be hearing a lot more about it!! It stands for PersOnalised Smart Environment to increase Inclusion of People with DOwn’s SyNdrome.
Poseidon is a three year project which has been funded by the European Commission. The goal of the project is to create information technology which will support people with Down’s syndrome achieve a greater level of independence in their lives. The technology will address a wide range of issues in a variety of environments including home, education, work and leisure. Types of technology that may be developed will include apps for tablets and smartphones, virtual reality programs and interactive visual tables.
As the end user of these new technologies will be people with Down’s syndrome, carers and parents, it’s really critical at this stage to get input from you all to ensure that the end products will be useful and really have a positive impact. We will also need input from professionals and employers who support people with Down’s syndrome.
The project team has developed a website which will be used to keep all interested parties up to date with progress. Please take a look!
What Happens Next?
The project team are busy preparing to collect information from potential users of the technology products which include people with Down’s syndrome, their parents and carers and supporting professionals. So if you fall into any of these categories you have an amazing opportunity to help with the project.
A questionnaire is being prepared which will be sent out to parents and carers of people with Down’s syndrome and supporting professionals in early December. It will ask some basic questions about what areas require most assistance in daily life to determine how technology can help people with Down’s syndrome. There will also be some questions about what technologies are currently being used by people with Down’s syndrome. The questionnaire will be sent to members and also posted on the DSA Facebook page and can be filled in online.
The project team want to know what Apps are currently being used by people with Down’s syndrome that are useful in their daily lives. We will be putting out a request on the DSA Facebook page asking for details of this information. Your response will really help the project.
Once the result of the questionnaires have been analysed we will also want to meet with a number of people with Down’s syndrome to hold some basic interviews and ask about their daily routines, again to determine where technology can be of most use in providing support with independent living. If you know of anyone who would like to be involved with these interviews please send an email to (Policy@downs-syndrome.org.uk)
There is much work to be done for this three year project and the DSA will be playing a big part in ensuring we get the right people to provide input into the design of the technology products. The two day project kick of meeting was intense and there was much discussion about planning the work. So intense that as I got out of the taxi which dropped me off at Oslo Airport I found that I did not have my handbag, which contained all my money, phone and passport! The story has a happy ending though as I finally realised that I had left my handbag in the taxi. We contacted the driver who returned with my bag. Phew!!… What a close call that was! Now back in the office and busy with all the preparation and planning of the project which I know will also have a happy ending despite all the hard work that lies ahead for us all!!!