Resource Center for Digital Inclusion receives over 6,000 visits in 10 years
“In 10 years, the Resource Center for Digital Inclusion (known as CRID) of the Polytechnic of Leiria has received 6,071 visits from Portuguese and foreign entities, wanted to get to known better the center consider an international role model in best practice for inclusive education. This number reinforces the Polytechnic of Leiria position as a reference in the inclusion area,” says Célia Sousa, coordinator of CRID based at School of Education and Social Sciences (ESECS) of Polytechnic of Leiria. In ten years of existence CRID directly supported almost 700 people with special needs. Over a decade, CRID has been visited by more than 20 delegations from a number of countries, including Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cape Verde, China, Croatia, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guinea Bissau , Holland, Hungary, England, Italy, Latvia, Mozambique, Romania, S. Tomé and Príncipe, Timor, among others.
“The CRID mission and purpose is to fill gaps in diagnosis, evaluation and inclusion of disabled people. Parents often don’t have the capability to understand if the software and hardware sold by companies were suited to their child’s disability – and the truth is that not even the supply respond to actual individual needs. So, CRID was born not only to make evaluation and diagnosis, but also to do training and research, aiming to serve the community, keeping an active role in society – we do not close ourselves inside doors, that wouldn’t make any sense to us, “says Célia Sousa.
The Center’s mission is to enhance participation and inclusion of disabled people within the knowledge and information society and at the same time continue to provide advice to both public and private authorities, as well as, maintain an individualized and customized assistance, training and research activities. With effective and tangible work CRID acts not only as a facilitator to citizens’ inclusion but also as an agent that raise awareness among the population and companies, towards a more inclusive society.
CRID: Ten years of committed work towards inclusion
Literacy for Everyone with Adapted Books
In ten years of existing, CRID is responsible for supporting 674 persons, evaluating 525 – children, teenagers and adults, Portuguese and foreign, training around 10 thousand students who attended the Polytechnic of Leiria in the last decade. CRID edited and co-edited children’s books, filling a serious gap in Portugal by offering literary works for children with special needs: ” O menino que tinha medo do escuro ” by Susana Campos and “Piu Caganita” text and illustration of Tânia Bailão Lopes. “Piu Caganita” is still the first printed multi-format book of the country accessible to all children (blind, deaf, with intellectual disability, and children without disability), combining in a single book: increased text, pictograms, braille and Images in relief. Beside that there are still available the online versions audiobook / videobook in Portuguese Sign Language.
Together with the CRTIC , CRID also edited two awareness-raising manuals on augmentative communication and assistive technologies. In a partnership with the Leiria City Hall, CRID made the adaptation to Braille of eight books of invited authors of the initiative ” Leiria Convida “, and assumed, under the project “Leiria de Todos + Acessível” the accessible flyers for all cultural spaces of the city – distinguishing Leiria as the first city in the country to produce accessible guides in all its cultural spaces. Before that, the multi-format brochure of the Monastery of Batalha was the first worldwide script with these characteristics.
CRID along with Polytechnic of Leiria students have participated in the launch of three inclusive digital games and in the execution of the project “Praça de Todos”, which provided all the spaces of restoration of Praça Rodrigues Lobo with multi-format menus.
CRID Launched in 2007 the campaign ” Mil Brinquedos, Mil Sorrisos” an original initiative aiming to collect and adapt toys to deliver it to children with special needs. Up to now, 5,000 toys have been delivered to 231 institutions from three continents. Célia Sousa highlight the urgent need for toy manufacturers and publishers among others to consider these children needs while thinking/creating a toy or a book because there is still no inclusive toys that can be used by all children. In fact, ” 10% of children Worldwide needs adapted toys,” she said.
The first prize-giving Inclusion Ceremony, was held in Leiria in 2010 and marks a unique initiative at national level where best practices and successful case studies in the inclusion of people with disabilities are distinguishes. In total, the prize-giving Inclusion Ceremony has already granted 60 awards .
2016 – CRID was a finalist in the in the category “Community Heroes of Accessibility Awards – Educational Achievement” known as the “Inclusion Oscars” awarded in March 2016 in the United States of America, by Knowbility Org.
2015 – CRID was recognized internationally in 2015 with the awarding of the prize “Social Entrepreneurship”, given by MIES – Map of Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship in Portugal for the work performed in behalf of the community.
Célia Sousa highlighted that CRID accomplished-projects are possible due to the active contribution of team work that shows “commitment, willingness and strength” and to Polytechnic of Leiria academic community support, and its partners “It is a team work, but is also the affection of the whole city, institutions and region, which makes Leiria one of the most inclusive cities in the country,” says Célia Sousa, recalling the words of the Minister of Labor, Solidarity and Social Security, Vieira da Silva, at the VII prize-giving Inclusion Ceremony, who said that the work that has been done in this area elevated the city as “capital of the country in stimulating and promoting the inclusion of disability people”.