Trinity College Dublin’s School of Engineering academic, Dr Esther Murphy, joined Tech Radio recently to discuss Digi-ID, a co-created digital skills programme designed with and for people with intellectual disabilities supported by the ADAPT Centre. The project, led by P.I Dr Murphy, is an EIT Health multidisciplinary EU innovation project that joins with partners across France, Sweden, Spain, Croatia and Ireland.
In the podcast, Dr Murphy highlights the work the project has undertaken in addressing digital literacy through the engagement with peers who have digital competencies. The project has developed citizen advisory panels acknowledging the lived experience of people with intellectual disabilities and autism, raising awareness of the importance of including community in paid advisory roles directly to learn about the challenges they face in terms of their access. This also addresses societal issue of low employment opportunities for this opportunity and enables understanding the process of inclusive employment.
The project brings together a wide range of disciplines including industry collaborations. In particular, Dr Murphy references a collaboration with Microsoft regarding the development of solutions and tools within the MS Suite software. Dr Murphy also addresses the importance of the project’s work in developing mainstream programmes as a way to focus on accessibility features and functionalities of mainstream digital skills and tools. Digi-ID utilises co-created video education, designed with accessibility in mind, placing the individual at the heart of the programme. Reactions to the project so far have been positive particularly in terms of the representation offered.
“For the community to see people like themselves, as cheesy as it sounds, ‘when you see it, you can be it’ has really been the heart of the work” – Dr Murphy
Collaborations with industry continue to grow but Dr Murphy emphases how the project commenced with the grassroots connections to those with intellectual disabilities through networks within different disciplines across Trinity College Dublin and ADAPT. She mentions as well how the project targets groups within education, psychology, speech and language therapy groups, among others, to build networks within the disability sector. This helps identify individuals who would like to participate in the project’s citizen advisory panels and work with them to identify further individuals who the team train as teachers in range of digital education topics to support effective transitions in education and employment.
Dr Murphy also emphasises the importance of addressing issues of employment within this community. Currently, Digi-ID employs fourteen people with intellectual disabilities through their citizen advisory panels working with the individuals themselves as well as their supporters, advocacy groups and families. Digi-ID also recently won the European Digital Skills Award in the category Inclusion in a Digital World in acknowledgment of their co-design approach and how they are embedding the citizen advisory panels, placing value and respect on the vital work they provide. The project will also be starting trials within higher education institutes and working with employers to examine work use cases considering the next steps for this community once they have gained digital literacy skills and what they can contribute to industry and the employment sector. Ultimately, according to Dr Murphy, it is about enabling people to live the digital lives of their choice within education and employment.
Listen to the full episode here. Tech Radio is created by TechCentral.ie with new podcast’s every Friday.
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