Increasing the IMPACT of assistive technology

man with a problem 
 
 
 
 

man with an idea 
 
 
 

explosion 

Once upon a time, there was a problem

 Currently available assistive technology and ICT enables disabled and elderly people to more fully participate in daily life. From a technological perspectives, these technologies are often state-of-the-art and results of intensive R&D activities. From a human perspective, these applications make the difference between being able to participate in society or not. 

However, from a social perspective, these applications too often are restricted to a small number of persons. Dissemination of the achievements to a larger group of users is hampered by shortage of resources and unstructured and insufficient information on what is currently available for which purposes. It is time and again deeply frustrating to know about all the available products and R&D activities in assistive technology and still meet professional carers and end-users not having any knowledge about basic concepts of assistive technology. 

Upon another time, there was an idea

 While IMPACT can unfortunately not address the shortage of resources, it aims to increase the awareness of and knowledge about assistive technology amongst professionals in health and social services. These aims will be pursued primarily through survey of existing and development of new educational materials for pre- en in-service usage in different European languages (using both traditional methods as well as multimedia). The newly developed educational material will consist of student's manual, teacher's manual, case studies, software and sample data. Complementary, a European network will be established bringing together persons from user groups, educational partners and service providers. This network will disseminate and enlarge the results by exchange of information (newsletter, WWW) and experiences (workshops). 

Later, there will be an IMPACT

 As such, this project addresses the issues identified by the European HEART study, more specifically line E on training of professionals. It also builds on the achievements of the European projects COST 219, INCLUDE (support actions) and PROMISE (Information Society project). The project specifically does not want to replicate the approach taken by Handynet. This valuable project made exhaustive information on assistive technology available on CD-Rom. IMPACT aims to create awareness of and knowledge about assistive technology on the level of the types of applications, not on the level of specific technologies or brands of products. 


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