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Beit Issie Shapiro welcomes EASPD's Person-centred Technology member forum in Israel

Participants from our PCT member forum gained hands-on experience in different assistive technologies for persons with disabilities.

A boy and girl, both with disabilities, are sitting down at a white table outside. There are green trees in the background and it's warm, as they are wearing T-shirts. The girl is wearing a light lilac T-shirt and the boy is wearing a yellow one. The girl is holding a tablet as the boy looks at the screen.

On 7th and 8th November, EASPD member Beit Issie Shapiro (BIS) from Israel welcomed EASPD's Person-centred Technology (PCT) member forum to its technology centre for a two-day study visit.

The main aim of the trip was to go through BIS' work with the PCT member forum in the field of assistive technologies to exchange knowledge and best practices. In total, there were six representatives from different EASPD members who attended the event, travelling from Greece, Albania, Austria, and Georgia, with three representatives from Israel.

Day 1

The first day was kicked off by welcoming remarks by occupational therapists Rotem Fishman and Dana Capello from BIS. In their introduction, they made a powerful emphasis on the necessity of a family-centred approach and teamwork to provide innovative services through their technology centre. Here, the participants also had the chance to present their organisations and their rationale for attending the study visit.

Excitingly, several technological tools were also displayed and presented, such as SONGO, Issieapps, and eye gaze technologies. Having the use of these tools be demonstrated in their correct contexts, the participants had the opportunity to see their practical value. The participants also toured the premises, and observed a class in which tablets and an interactive whiteboard and were used by students and support staff.

Participants were then taken through different educational frameworks by Rachel, a BIS staff member. She was followed by Noa Nitzan, Project Manager at the GEHA Mental Health Centre, who then dove into the services of the mental health centre, including the use of the interactive app Woebot in supporting people with psychiatric diagnoses. Other technological applications like Smarthomeprogram and the Memoapp, which are all designed to improve different aspects of the lives of persons with disabilities and mental health issues, were introduced alongside Woebot.

The first day concluded with the presentation of AAC leadership groups by Lilachin. Here, people with disabilites discussed their specific needs, providing impactful insight to the services afforded to them.

Day 2

Activities of the study visit resumed on the second day with a trip to Beit Issie Shapiro's centre in Kalanswa, a city with a large Muslim community. Alaa and Hiba, staff members at the Kalanswa centre, presented their early intervention services, which the participants were able observe. The recipients of these early intervention services have multiple disabilities and are supported by several technological means, such as tablets, interactive boards and eye gaze technology. The participants then took a tour to BIS' multisensory room that is accessible to all service users for therapeutic purposes.

As the visit came to an end, the participants discussed their experiences and explored different options and ideas for further collaborative opportunities with Sharon Geshkel Oron.

By taking part in this series of workshops and visits to the technology centre, the participants gained hands-on experience in different assistive technologies, and learnt the methods and practices to best use them. After the study visit, the participants will share with their organisation what they have learnt from their experiences by holding focus group discussions. They will also share the knowledge they gained at BIS in the next PCT member forum meetings.

A sneak peek of the participants' feedback

"In the two days of our visit, my colleagues from other organisations and I had the chance to meet with the BIS team, who shared with us their vision for social change! In a guided tour to Beit Issie Shapiro’s premises, the Sindian Early Intervention Center, and  the educational and therapeutic services offered to persons with disabilities, it was clear that innovation is the result  of professionals who collaborate to find accessible and effective solutions. They all work under a bigger organisation that motivates them to be ambitious, and to support all persons with disabilities in all aspects of life."

     - Lemonia Aidonidou, Amimoni

"Technology is used in Beit Issie Shapiro’s services in an optimal way, as they adopt a family-centered approach by creating personalised services for their beneficiaries, making a large impact to the community. I look forward to relaying my experience to our Board of Directors and our colleagues in different departments. In focus groups, we will then come together and discuss the implication of technological solutions in daily service provision."

     - Angeliki Louloumari, PloesE.Psy.Me


To learn more about Beit Issie Shapiro visit their website.