By Vanda Ridley, Communications Manager, DSA
Gregor from Rumania and Vicky from Croatia at the famous Holmenkollen Olympic Ski Jump
Last weekend the Poseidon Partners arranged a European Workshop in Oslo with participants from Romania, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy. Four people with Down´s syndrome from these countries took part with their helpers. We wanted to involve other European countries in the Poseidon project and find out what technology they might find helpful in their daily lives.
What was on the Agenda?
Saturday morning was the most interesting day for me as we heard from Serena, Gregor, Vicki, and Laurentiu about their lives.
The people with Down´s syndrome presented information about their daily lives, interests, likes and dislikes.
Serena (39) from Italy is a keen sportswoman and a Global Olympic Messenger for her country, her dream is to become a secretary, she lives at home with her mother. Gregor (22) from Slovenia lives at home with his parents. He loves computer games and using his exercise bike. His father is worried about what opportunities there are for his son and is campaigning for better supported living in Slovenia. Currently many young people move into flats in a complex with carers if they leave home. Gregor’s father is concerned about the quality of care and activities available. Vicki (15) from Croatia lives with her parents. Once 16 she will have the opportunity to train as an assistant florist. Laurentiu (15) from Rumania just loves his family and school (as long as he does not have to work too hard) and has many friends.
Dinner at Prima Fila restaurant in Oslo
At lunch we were very lucky to be taken to see the Holmenkollen Olympic Ski Jump and then to a beautiful restaurant looking over Oslo. Sadly the snow meant the view was obscured. I did not mind as it was such a treat to be out in the sharp fresh air and enjoy the snow. During the afternoon we spoke with our guests in more detail about their lives to gather information to help the developers who will soon begin work. Saturday night saw us all enjoying an evening together over an Italian meal (I don’t think the Italian delegation were too impressed by the authenticity of the menu). Laurentiu and Gregor had by that time struck up a very firm friendship.
Sunday morning saw me drag myself bleary eyed from my bed to help set up a variety of games and apps. It was panic stations all round but we managed to be ready for just after 9am. Our guests then tried each of the activities, commented upon them and were filmed using them. Lunch, a final farewell to new friends and we were on our way to the airport. Thankfully this time I did not leave my handbag in the taxi and give myself heart failure!
All the information gathered from the weekend, the questionnaires, and interviews will be used by the developers to help them design new technology and apps for people with Down’s syndrome. The next user group workshop will be in September in Darmstadt (where one of the partners is based) where different European partners will be involved.
Keep an eye on the Poseidon Page on our website and the Poseidon website for updates about the project.