EDUCARE is an European staff exchange programme where partner organisations have found a common interest in the theme of behavioural problems in connection with visual impairment. As we experience the number of young people with VI (Visual Impairment) and MDVI (Multi Disabled Visually Impaired) who develop behaviour problems has been growing and the professionals working in the field of visual impairment are facing challenging situations for which they have not been adequately educated and prepared to cope with. Lack of competences generates new problems and causes stressful situations on both sides. Therefore, the teachers and other professionals recognise there is a great need to increase the quality of professional knowledge and understanding of the target group.
Visual impairment is a low incidence disability.
Specialist organisations working in this field, which this group represents, tend to be unique within their country and need to reach out beyond national boundaries to work with others who are dealing with the same issues and challenges. There are 10 partners in the project, each partner sends 3 to 4 professionals to the exchange activity. The profile of the participants is a professional with a background in VI/MDVI, a few years of work experience in the field of VI/MDVI, working with children/young people with behavioural problems, speaking and reading English on an active level and highly motivated to learn, share and implement lessons learned.
The partner organisations agreed upon the following project objectives:
- Sharing recent research/literature available in Europe
- Better understanding of the needs of the target group
- Discovering models/approaches for professionals/staff to deal with the issues
- Sharing and exchanging the challenges and (good) practice
- Improving the staff competences regarding the treatment of behavioural problems of pupils and students with VI/MDVI (knowledge, skills, attitude)
- Adoption of the strategies shared
- Implementing new knowledge, skills
- Reducing the stress level of the professional
- Better achievements of pupils and students with VI/MDVI with behavioural problems
There will be four staff exchanges, each preceded and followed up by a range of activities and every exchange will be focused on one behavioural issue. During the exchange events experts will train the three different models from the Netherlands, good practices will be shared, new methodologies, case studies, current research in focused areas of interest will be presented and taught, giving a coordinated overview of specific behavioural disorders in relation to those with VI/MDVI in order to give the professionals new tools to work with the target group. In between the exchange events a number of activities will be carried out by the participants like reading recommended literature, working on questionnaires, discussing, evaluating and analysing case studies, writing reports and giving presentations in their own language for the colleagues in their organisation and country.
Topics of the four exchanges/trainings events:
- Introduction to three methodologies developed in the Netherlands.
- Aggression/Self-inflicted injuries
- Behavioural problems related to autism
- Transition processes and the relation to difficult behaviour
Professionals working in the field of visual impairment addressed through this project deal with complex and severe individual needs. The results of the project will be on three different levels. The knowledge, the professionals will learn about specific (international) models, methods, practices and techniques, will result in earlier recognition and better understanding of the problem. Skills and competences of the professionals will be improved, they will learn how to use/adopt these techniques in order to integrate them into daily activities, so we can expect more appropriate interventions. The staff will be prepared/trained to handle the problems of pupils and students with VI/MDVI and behavioural problems, which will decrease stress level, give confidence and improve the learning experience of VI/MDVI persons. Long-term benefits of improved staff competences will also show in better prevention and abilities to avoid severe behavioural problems, in addition, we expect the target group will have better opportunities to set out on the road to full integration in society.