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Key conclusion from #RightToConnectNow accessibility session with Networking Drinks and workshop

On 12th and 13th of October ENTELIS+ Consortium partners organised #Righttoconnectnow – accessibility session with networking drinks in EASPD’s 25th Anniversary Conference in Brussels. The main objective of the first part of the session was to showcase the training modules prepared by the consortium partners and discuss the on-ground experience of the pilot  training in 4 countries with the target group. In the second part of the session ENTELIS+ partners disseminate different outputs such as success factors, mapping of good practice, fact sheets etc. produced in the project. In addition a separate workshop was organised where the consortium partner FUNKA facilitated a training on digital accessibility and how to provide training on digital accessibility to persons with disability. 

Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General, EASPD opened the session with a welcome speech highlighting the importance of strategic public and private partnerships to develop innovative methods and practices to foster inclusive education as well as enhancing the digital skills and competences of digitally excluded groups particularly persons with disabilities of all ages. Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf Secretary General, AAATE shared the key objectives of the ENTELIS+ project and the ENTELIS Network. 

Ilaria Valoti moderated the panel session where panel speakers Sarah Gavra Boland (Saint John of God Community Services), Aaron Reitbauer (atempo Betriebsgesellschaft), Elli Kafritsa (Vocational Traianing Center MARGARITA), Sofia Ceré (AIAS Bologna Onlus) shared on-ground experience of conducting accessibility training in Austria, Ireland, Greece and Italy using the training module prepared by the consortium. Several key elements were highlighted as essential in promoting digital accessibility to person with disabilities such as: 

Accessible training materials: Vocational Training Center MARGARITA provided the training to beneficiaries with intellectual disability and Service providers & specialized professionals (psychologists, occupational therapists, speech & language therapists, social workers) where the participants were actively involved in learning about the digital accessibility using powerpoint slides in easy-to-read format. The trainer also used digital games “Kahoot” where the participants could easily join in the questions answer session about the training.

Importance of Digital accessibility and assistive technology: In Ireland the trainers from Saint John of God Community Services highlighted how digital accessibility is important for communication, education and employment for persons with disability. From the training modules the beneficiaries explored how to use the built-in accessibility and accessibility checker in Microsoft office package which is an essential tool in education and employment for persons with disabilities. Apart from the training modules, beneficiaries learned to explore accessibility features on mobile devices as these features are more practical and can be used very easily. 

The speakers also highlighted that during the pandemic the digital divide has escalated as service providers faced difficulties to support older people and persons with disabilities since many beneficiaries had lack of understanding to access internet and digital devices. Hence it is crucial for the service providers to use quality materials to train the beneficiaries on digital accessibility. 

To conclude, Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf informed the audience with a short video on the social media campaign #Righttooconnectnow initiated by the project partners. During the second part of the session the ENTELIS+ partners invited all the session participants to have a closer look at the accessibility training modules and other outputs prepared in the project. The project outputs are also digitally available on the website here

On 13th October consortium partner FUNKA facilitated a digital accessibility workshop where 40+ service providers actively participated. The workshop slide can be found here 

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