LUDI at the European Parliament in 2015

LUDI was hosted at the European Parliament on April 15th, 2015, to present the Network aims and objectives.

The Chair Serenella Besio, the Vice-Chair Pedro Encarnãçao and a LUDI task force  (Angharad Beckett,  Eva Brooks, Daniela Bulgarelli, Marco Carnesecchi, Fernando Loizides, Ben Robins, Vaska Stancheva-Popkostadinova and Panayiotis Zaphiris) met the EP Disability Intergroup: MP Brando Benifei (member), Mr. Etienne Cuche (European Parliament liaison officer for the European Disability Forum) and Dr. Inmaculada Placencia-Porrero (Deputy Head of Unit), for Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Directorate General for Justice).

LUDI at the Conference on the Day of Person with Disabilities 2015 in Brussels

LUDI has been invited by the European Commission to take part as exhibitor  to the 2015 annual Conference on the occasion of the Day of persons with disabilities, entitled “Growing together in a barrier-free Europe” (as reported in the conference official document, at page 36).

The event took place in Brussels on 7 and 8 December 2015, in the Charlemagne Building, with more than 300 participants from all over Europe.

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The conference focused on children and young people with disability. Presentations and discussions were on the current situation of children with disabilities in Europe, on their access to education and how it contributes to the equal participation of children and young people with disabilities in society. Children with disabilities and parents of children with disabilities were among the panelists, together with representative organizations of groups of persons with disabilities, government representatives, academics and the Fundamental Rights Agency.

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The Action LUDI  has been invited because it highlights the importance of play – as for any other child – in the life of children with disabilities. Actually, LUDI was born within a total inclusive framework and its claim for play as a universal right is intended also to shift the prevailing attention from the side of disease and recovery towards the side of health, well-being, social participation.

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To present LUDI to the public attending the Brussels Conference, some members of the network set up an area in the hall where the various branches of the project could be displayed: toys available from the mainstream market were chosen for their characteristics of accessibility and accompanied by information sheets, toy robots developed within research projects, mainstream small robots whose usability is currently being studied, scientific posters related to the activities and the results obtained until now by the four main Working Groups.

The exhibition has attracted great interest in the Conference participants, who wanted to deepen the topic through many questions and new contacts have been established for the future. As some pictures show, children were among the most enthusiastic visitors.

LUDI at the Centre of Expertise of Innovative Care and Technology of Zuyd University, Maastricht

At the occasion of the PhD defence of Lorenzo Desideri, the Centre of Expertise of Innovative Care and Technology of Zuyd University in the Netherlands organised a Mini-Symposium. The aim was to explore current innovations in technology applied to developmental disabilities, and to address the challenges associated to technology-based interventions for both service delivery and policy development.

This event took place at October 21, 2015 in Maastricht for a group of ~30 persons. Researchers of the Centre of Assistive Technology in Bologna (Italy) and of the Centre of Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare in Sheffield (UK) were attending the meeting. And of course researchers, therapists, students and therapists working in the area of children with disabilities in the Netherlands.

I had the permission of Serenella Besio and Pedro Encarnação to present the work of LUDI at this meeting, although it was not an official dissemination action. I’ve talked about LUDI’s objectives, the interdisciplinary transnational European cooperation and the work of the different working groups.

The LUDI presentation was fitting in this discourse with interesting research projects about assistive technology service delivery, and the use of robots to stimulate play for children with disabilities.

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The summary emphasized the need to support use and service delivery of assistive technology with research data.  There are currently quite some concerns about the hugh technological developments and the difficulties for users to get the devices and services, as well as limited evidence based data to support the use of assistive technology devices. We received the suggestion to explore the connection of LUDI database to Eastin (European Assitive Technology Information Network http://www.eastin.eu/en-GB/searches/products/index )

More info rianne.jansens@zuyd.nl

Rianne Jansens

LUDI WG 2 leader

LUDI at New Friends 2015 in Almere

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At October 22 and 23, 2015 took this conference place in Almere, the Netherlands. This conference was aiming to bring technology developers, researchers and professionals, using robots with clients of all ages, together. I estimate that most of the 130 participants were having a technology, engineering background. Some of them social sciences and psychology researchers. Just a few professionals working in education or health care

On behalf of LUDI and my colleagues Serenella Besio and Pedro Encarnação, I was presenting the work of LUDI with emphasis on how we address technology in our network. Attached you’ll find the abstract. The presentation with the title: LUDI: a Pan-European Network Addressing Technology to Support Play for Children with Disabilities, was a dissemination action of our network. We were hoping to inspire the participants with the work we are doing and to present the LUDI database.

The formal and informal reactions I’ve received, emerged the thoughts that a lot of researchers and developers are very busy with the what question: what exists in robotics, what can we develop, what can we improve. Less important seemed to be the why question: why is it important, what about the users’ perspective? The indisciplinary European cooperation within LUDI gained positive comments.

The presentation was showing LUDI’s database, inviting the participants to submit their data as well so we will gain a lot of data with a lot of variety of play experiences with robots. To support this process, LUDI leaflet and LUDI database leaflet were hand over.

More information:

Download paper presented here.

About the conference: http://newfriends2015.org/

Impression about the conference http://windesheim.instantmagazine.com/magazine-wf/new-friends-2015/#?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Magazine_NewFriends2015&utm_source=nieuwsbrief

Or you can contact me at rianne.jansens@zuyd.nl

Rianne Jansens

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LUDI at the Beit Issie Shapiro International Conference 2015

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Beit Issie Shapiro’s 6th Annual International Conference on Disabilities “Unity and Diversity in Action” took place on July 6-9, 2015, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Since 1994, Beit Issie Shapiro’s International Conference on Disabilities has been taking place every four years:
The LUDI Network makes its international debut at the Beit Issie Shapiro International Conference with its first dissemination activity, a session titled “LUDI: Technology and Play for Children with Disabilities”. Four of our members will be presenting their work as it relates to the use of technology to promote play in children with disabilities.

The conference was three days long.  There were 25 countries represented and close to 1000 attendees.  The third day was held at Beit Issie Shapiro with a special program for international guests. shapiro8The LUDI Network presented a parallel session, on day 2, entitled LUDI: Technology and Play for Children with Disabilities.

There were four LUDI members representing the network, Pedro Encarnação, from Portugal, Ben Robins, from the UK, and Dana Cappel and Noa Nitzan from Israel, each presenting their own work.  In addition Pedro and Ben gave an introductory presentation of the LUDI Network and the work we have done so far. The session was dedicated in memory of Dr. Gert Jan Gelderblom.

The session was a big success with over 150 attendees and we received very good feedback both about our work and about LUDI.  shapiro9We made new connections and had more than a few attendees inquiring about joining the network. On the third day, the special day for international guests, Ben and Pedro had the chance to visit Friendship Park, Beit Issie’s accessible playground and had a tour guided by Dr. Michele Shapiro, the initiator of the accessible playground program at Beit Issie Shapiro, and Tania Hart, the current coordinator. Both Michele and Tania consult about accessible playgrounds throughout Israel and internationally. shapiro7Two other guests attended as well, both are accessible park designers:  Mark Triegleff from the United States and Ben Richards from Australia.

The tour was very educational and highlighted the considerations and importance given not just to the equipment but to the design and flow of the space. Dilemmas and difficulties were discussed. Following the visit to the park, there were special presentations at Beit Issie Shapiro, including one by our Executive Director, Jean Judes, outlining Beit Issie Shapiro’s unique approach to developing and exporting knowledge in the field of disability awareness and research.

shapiro5shapiro4As one of her examples, she mentioned our technology and play contribution to the LUDI COST Action.  Considering the number of international attendees in the room it was very nice exposure for LUDI.  Following a tour of the Center we hosted a workshop for the paraprofessionals (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, and emotional therapists) working at Beit Issie Shapiro.  Ben and Pedro each presented their work and the staff had a chance to try out the Lego Mindstorms for themselves.

Our staff were very impressed by Pedro and Ben’s work!

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The event ended with a traditional lunch at a nearby synagogue.  It was a meaningful and enjoyable end to a fruitful few days, allowing us to share in the atmosphere of collaboration with colleagues from all over the world.

 

shapiro2The conference and our session were both very successful. We were happy to hear about Ben and Pedro’s work and are also glad that Ben and Pedro had the opportunity to see the work we are doing here at Beit Issie Shapiro, and elsewhere in Israel.