Employment Opportunities for Disabled Persons: Innovative Training and Technology

Notes of the 3rd Project Meeting

Faches-Thumesnil, 25-27 April 1999


$ See appendix 1 - Participants List


Welcome also to Valentina Serra, transnational collaborator in the Horizon-project of Unimatica Confapi.

$ See documents:



Since November we have been working on three phases of the project:

As we find it important to found the innovative development process in the project well, we spend quite some time and energy to exchanges of information and experience. We therefore have made a study visit, attended a seminar and are active participants to the Flemish Network for Open and Distance Learning for Target Groups (as founding organisation), the Belgian Network for Open and Distance Learning and the European Federation for Open and Distance Learning.

The BE.ODL's structure is characterised by a balanced division of public and private bodies. The president is private (Jef Staes, Siemens); the general manager is public (Johan Van Oost, VDAB).

The co-ordinates of the founding members of E.F.ODL will be sent to all partners.

For more information about BE.ODL and E.F.ODL

$ See documents:

In this development phase, the organisation Technologie & Integratie will develop target group specific software for videoconference and speech technology.

Remarks are made by the partners about the importance of and the need for a compatible system of videoconference.

$ See also progress reports distributed during the meeting


The Smart Home

This is the home that helps those who live in it to overcome their individual difficulties.

This project has the purpose of developing a user-friendly interface for the management of home safety and security. The project is developing a warning system which allows people to call for urgent help independently.

The Smart Space

A smart house may keep a disabled person inside because of the felt security and safety. However, it is also important for disabled persons to feel safe and secure outside. Aurora is therefore also working on programmes for the active space, e.g. the connection of mobile telephones to satellites.

Other projects

$ See also brochure "Where Aurora?" distributed during the meeting


During the 2nd meeting, the training of trainers has been highlighted. The project consists of 2 elements: research and formation. At the beginning of every training module a training of trainers is being organised in which guidelines for the development of the training modules are presented.

The didactic regulation of the training has been started. The didactic guidelines have been presented generally. The programme is in full preparation. But it has not yet been approved by the didactic commission. After approval it will be sent to all partners.

How does the didactic regulation of the training educational project for the course activities (PEFOC) work?

PEFOC foresees the following organisation for CSSC:

  1. Presidency committee
  1. Didactic commission
  1. Scientific commission
  1. Committee for social control
  1. Technical committee for evaluation of the didactic activity

CSSC pays a lot of attention to the didactic evaluation by the students themselves. It is important for the students as the final target group to participate in the evaluation. Prof. Stenta reacts to this saying that students do not have the means, the knowledge and the basis to be able to carry out the evaluation. It seems to him that this is a false democracy. M. Di Vona emphasises the fact that the object of the evaluation is the interaction between teacher and student, not the training material.

The research activity has not yet been broadened. But the development of a quality handbook has begun. For this handbook one is using the ISO9002-standards for the development of training projects, the ISO9003-standards for the parity guarantee and the ISO9004-standards for service delivery.

The first training activities have been ended in march. These were the training modules for the operative informative systems. The students now have to pass an exam. The second phase of training activities will start in May.

The training content is mainly computer science. But also subjects like, legislation and European culture are taught. Deaf people have their own small world. Their knowledge of Europe (geography, citizenship) is often limited. Therefore they are taught about society, legislation, European structures.

13 Deaf students have started and ended the first year. One basic problem has been experienced by the teachers: the poor vocabulary of these students. A lot of attention has therefore been paid to teaching the meaning of terms and words. A lot of attention has also been paid to teaching norms and values of current society. The deaf world is a closed world in which deaf people feel free to do whatever they want and in which they are hardly contacted by hearing people.

Future perspective of employment:

An enterprise will be formed in which 6 deaf students will work. These students are assessed as being able to work on the open labour market.

The other 7 students will need more coaching. They have major problems to develop interaction autonomously.


Firstly, C. Delezie throws light on the history of the structures of CAVA & IRIS, as an introduction for the new participants.

Jacky Levasseur subsequently explains the progress of the project.

The purpose of the project is for the disabled persons and their family or parents to overcome their isolated position (auto-isolation or isolation by society).

Families very often feel responsible for the handicap of their child. This leads to ambivalent reactions and actions. Parents wish their handicapped child to be considered as normal. But within the family system they consider that very child as another child because of their feeling of guilt.

The project has started a speech group for parents of handicapped children to be able to exchange their experiences.

After some time of working, it was understood that the parents and the children had to be separated. It was decided to have a speech group each biweekly.

As a system therapist, Jacky's interest lies with understanding what parents and children say in the speech group and what they say at home. In the speech groups, themes which are taboos at home are discussed (e.g. the death of parents, sexuality, marriage, divorce). These themes are introduced by the participants themselves. Jacky serves himself with the potential of the participants so that they can communicate at home without him. He tries to create something new that will encourage the family to communicate differently. In all families a communication system exist which changes rarely. Changes are unknown and therefore frightening. Jacky serves himself with the potential of the family which allows them to communicate. They can change but they can also not change. In the speech group, families can ask questions like how have you done this, why have you done this, what have you felt.

It appears that the handicapped children are evolving quicker than their parents. They seem to discover more. These children are already adults (20,30,40 years old). They state that they can not say to their parents that they have been wrong during their education. The parents have to discover this themselves. Some parents find themselves to be bad parents. Jacky always denies this. These parents have done what they thought was good. If he ask them whether they think they have not been good parents, parents can talk about their anger, their fear, the future of their children. Often they want to act differently as a parent but they do not know how. There is for example a father who believes strongly in the autonomy of his disabled son. But he also says that his son is not yet ready to life alone. Now this father sees that actually he himself is not yet ready to see his son living alone.

In the parents' speech group, there is an evolution towards discussing the education of children of which one is disabled. Beforehand one was always discussing the handicapped child alone. The handicapped child is now not longer seen as the problem but as the symptom. It is a child which has problems, like all children have problems.

There is a second evolution to see in the wishes of the children to do things together outside. They want to go shopping for example, they want to travel or to have dinner together. These are "openings" which will reassure the parents and make them clear that they are not indispensable.

Some parents find that they are not evolving, something they would never have said before. This means that they have questions but not yet answers and that they will have to make choices.

In both speech groups there is a curiosity about the functioning of the other group. But Jacky never answers to these questions - the participants can ask it to their parents/child.

$ See also progress reports distributed during the meeting

In the oncoming months, CAVA-IRIS will make a video of the structures of CAVA and IRIS and the EDIT-project. The video will endure about 30 minutes.



CAVA-IRIS find themselves however not able to indicate, on a national level, links with the project of CSSC. It is not clear if there are transmissible elements.

CSSC is however interested in the video: it can show the students the abilities of disabled persons.

CAVA-IRIS will make the video available for all partners. The possibilities of a translation in Sign Language will be explored.


Harlinde Exelmans explained about the Objectives of Agenda 2000, the simplifications in the structural funds and the community initiatives, the priorities of the ESF 2000 and the changes in the system of ESF-delivery

$ See also documents distributed during the meeting

$ See also list of interesting url's for ESF-promoters distributed during the meeting

INDOGO is to adjust the summary and to send it to the partners by e-mail.



Appendix 1. List of participants


Organisation Name Function
CAVA / IRIS Christophe Delezie Director
CAVA / IRIS Jacky Levasseur Family therapist
CAVA Isabelle Boulier Co-ordinator
UNIMATICA Confapi Salvatore Sotgiu President
UNIMATICA Confapi Valentina Serra Transnational Collaborator
CONSORZIO AURORA Prof. Urbano Stenta President
CONSORZIO AURORA Amalia Consistoro Secretary
Centro Studi "Silvio Cucinotta" Giovanni Di Vona President
Centro Studi "Silvio Cucinotta" Maria Terracina Interpreter
INDOGO Br. Maurice Buyens Director
INDOGO Harlinde Exelmans Project co-ordinator
INDOGO Stefaan Martens Project Associate