The LUDI project at the Conference on the Day of Person with Disabilities, December 2015

LUDI has been invited by the European Commission to take part to the 2015 annual Conference on the occasion of the Day of persons with disabilities, entitled “Growing together in a barrier-free Europe”.

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 (more information related to the event can be found at this link: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?langId=it&catId=88&eventsId=1069&furtherEvents=yes).

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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 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.

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.

Presentation about LUDI at a Mini-Symposium about Assistive Technolgy for children

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

Presentation about LUDI at 1st International Conference on social robots in therapy and education

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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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Anna Andreeva

STSM by Anna Andreeva

Dear Anna Andreeva,

you are the first LUDI member leaving for a Short Term Scientific Mission! We are really excited for this event, and we would like to ask you some additional information..

So, thank you for accepting this short interview…

Anna, who are you? Would you like to present yourself briefly?

My name is Anna Andreeva. I’m 34 years old. I work as Assistant Professor in bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in Logopaedics (Speech and Language Pathology) at South-West University “Neofit Rilski”, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. Currently I am PhD student in Logopaedics.

What are the scientific fields of main interest for you?

My professional interests are in prevention, assessment and therapy of people with hearing and voice disorders.

How did you meet the project LUDI and why do you think it is interesting for you as a practitioner?

I was informed about “Play for Children with Disabilities (LUDI)” by a colleague of mine who participated in this action. I became a LUDI member in August, 2015.

The main group of people that I work with are children with disabilities. This project is about play and play is a very important part of my clinical practice.

Where are you going with your STSM and why did you choose this Host institution?

I have chosen to apply for Cyprus Interaction Lab, because I was mostly impressed with the humanoid robot NAO and its use in play and education of children. Use of humanoid robots in speech therapy work is new for my country. I consider this participation as a great opportunity to get in touch with the colleagues in Cyprus Interaction Lab because I am very curious about their approaches to use special technology and software in play for children with disabilities.

What are your plans during your STSM? What would you like to study and which results are you expecting from this mission?

I would like to explore the communication abilities of the humanoid robot NAO and its potential in work with children with hearing impairment. Through my participation in the STSM it will be possible for me to research play in an interdisciplinary field. During our joined work we could exchange ideas and experience.

I expect that NAO could be used as an assistant in integration of children with hearing impairment in general kindergarten with typically hearing peers. It could be involved in play for pleasure, joy and as part of assessment and rehabilitation program of children with hearing disorders.

Would you like to tell us something else?

I’m really excited about my STSM in Cyprus and I’m sure it will be a great experience for me.

Thank you very much, Anna! Have a nice stay in Cyprus; we wait for interesting reports when you will come back!

Daniela Bulgarelli

STSM by Daniela Bulgarelli


Dear Daniela Bulgarelli,

you are one of the first members leaving for a LUDI Short Term Scientific Mission!

We would like to share with the LUDI members the reasons and the contents of this Mission

So, thank you for accepting this short interview…

Daniela, who are you? Would you like to present yourself briefly?

I am a developmental psychologist, I work at the University of Turin, in Italy, since 2001. I developed expertise in research, scientific dissemination and teaching to bachelor and master students and to professionals working in day-cares.

What are the scientific fields of main interest for you?

I am mainly interested in the development of communication and social and ludic interaction both in typical and atypical children. I worked on the validation and standardization of observational tools and tests for the assessment of children’s development.

How did you meet the project LUDI and why do you think it is interesting for you as a practitioner?

I met the project LUDI through colleagues from other Italian Universities. LUDI fosters a new look on play and supports the achievement of crucial rights for play in children with disabilities, so it was a great opportunity to be part of the working group. Meeting people and practitioners from all over Europe (and the world!), working and discussing with them is essential for the growth of our scientific work.

Where are you going with your STSM and why did you choose this Host institution?

I am going to the Department of Medical-Social Sciences, Faculty of Public Health, Health Care and Sports of the South-West University “Neofit Rilski” in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. I answered to a Call of this Institution, and in particular by Prof. Vaska Stancheva-Popkostadinova, who is Head of the Department. I am interested in discussing with colleagues their models to sustain play in children with disabilities and the ways play is supported and evaluated. Moreover, I am interested in visiting centres for assessment and rehabilitation in European countries, from a cross-cultural point of view: comparing similarities and differences is very important also to understand the way we work in my own country.

What are your plans during your STSM? What would you like to study and which results are you expecting from this mission?

During my STSM I will meet the Action members from Bulgaria, the staff of the hosting Faculty, the staff of the Laboratory of Institute for System Engineering and Robotics and the practitioners working in day care centres for children with disabilities. I expect to learn about the way these colleagues organize their work, the way they approach children and families, the tools they use and to discuss with them the strength and the difficulties that naturally occur in everyday work. I hope this will be an opportunity to new insights on our work.

Would you like to tell us something else?

Well, it will be my first time in Bulgaria, so I am looking forward to enjoy the colors, the sounds and the flavors of Blagoevgrad!

Thank you very much, Daniela! Have a nice stay in Bulgaria; we wait for interesting reports when you will come back!

Dr Helen Lynch receives Research Grant

Dr Helen Lynch, occupational therapist from the University College of Cork, Ireland, and member of the LUDI Management Committee, has been successful in her application for a research grant of € 5,000 to begin, for the duration of one year, a pilot project exploring play experiences of children with disabilities and their families.

The research idea is born within the scientific framework of the LUDI network. Supporting letters were submitted from the LUDI project which helped the success of the application.

Many wishes to Helen for her work!

LUDI participation in the Beit Issie Shapiro International Conference

shapiro1The LUDI Network held its first dissemination activity this week at the Beit Issie Shapiro International Conference on Disabilities, “Unity & Diversity in Action”, in Tel Aviv, Israel. The conference was part of a week of events in Tel Aviv dedicated to raising awareness about people 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.

 

 

LUDI debut at the Beit Issie Shapiro International Conference

Beit Issie Shapiro’s 6th Annual International Conference on Disabilities “Unity and Diversity in Action”, July 6-9, 2015, Tel Aviv, Israel
Since 1994, Beit Issie Shapiro’s International Conference on Disabilities has been taking place every four years. This event is a unique opportunity for academic, medical and community professionals, researchers, policy makers, service providers, people with disabilities, and family members, to meet with colleagues from around the world and take part in the latest state-of-the-art knowledge, research and practice in the field of disabilities.
The LUDI Network makes it’s 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 First Conference of the COST ACTION TD1309 – LUDI “Play for Children with Disabilities”, was held in Limassol, Cyprus, on 4-5 June 2015

This is the second plenary Meeting of LUDI, and it is devoted to deepen the general issue of play, under the perspectives of psycho-pedagogy and of children’s rights.

After the plenary session with invited speakers from USA, UK and France, in the morning of the first day, the Conference will continue with parallel Working Group Meetings and the LUDI Management Committee Meeting. These works will be mainly devoted the prepare the first LUDI deliverables.

The Agenda of the conference is here.

Short CVs of the speakers are here