This program is aimed at improving the management skills of leisure time in citizens with mental and intellectual disabilities, as well as supporting their trainers/carers. We have prepared a toolkit of educational tools, which is an open educational resource for services, trainers, academics, professionals and parents as an interactive and supportive material to achieve this aim. Research conducted in different countries in Europe has shown that there was no suitable material and/or support for leisure skills for people with disabilities. As a result, their functional integration into the community is not achieved, their skills are significantly reduced as they grow older, their emotional state is negatively affected, and they need increased help and support. In addition, the existence of unstructured, unsupported and free leisure training, as well as the complete deprivation of recreational activities for people with disabilities can lead to negative behaviours towards themselves or the community.
In this project, the recreational behaviour of people with mental/intellectual disabilities has been assessed through our research questionnaire, aiming to develop skills for social interaction and interaction of these individuals. We have created an easily accessible, digital resource that will help people with disabilities break this cycle that limits their active participation in society. That cycle exists because, although general education and integration structures exist in the community, there hasn’t been, until now, an emphasis on teaching quality of life and leisure skills, which are what lead to effective integration into society and improvement of quality of life. For example, a person with a mental or intellectual disability is deprived, due to environmental factors, of performing simple activities such as shopping, going to the library, visiting friends or going to the park. Additionally, complex and combined cognitive skills are sometimes required, for example, making a shopping list, signing up for a library card, arranging a time to visit friends, and making an informed decision about which place to visit.
Our program innovates with an easy-to-use, interactive e-learning educational toolkit which offers awareness and supports experts, stakeholders, participants and their carers as well as society as a whole about the importance of teaching these skills which are easily accessible for everyone. The toolkit is shared through our project learning portal, along with other educational materials.
The policy report created as part of this project will contribute to the social integration strategies of the European Union and its member states.