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Re-investing Expertise: Expansion of Professional Training for Educators and Parents of Children with Down's Syndrome

Recognizing and responding to the need to provide support for parents of DS children and professionals that come into contact with them, was the LdV DoI multilateral project PoD - Professional Training for Parents of Children with Down Syndrome. Undertaken in 2007-2009, with a partnership that included Spain, Italy, Greece and Romania, it designed, developed and implemented a new training tool for family members that helped stimulate and educate people with DS throughout their lives, beginning in early childhood. The conditions for persons with DS and the challenges facing those involved in their care and education that inspired the PoD project in the original partner countries are more entrenched in countries of the eastern part of Europe. In view of this, and owing to the fact that the results from the DoI project showed unequivocally that PoD is worthy of further development for use across Europe, KMOP, as a defining member of the original partnership, seeks to adapt the existing PoD tool to the needs – socio-economic and linguistic - of two new EU countries: Hungary and Bulgaria. The project is carried out by a consortium with two partners in each county, representing NGOs, DS associations and educational partners. The Greek NGO KMOP, as part of the original developing consortium with extensive experience in management of EU funded projects is joined by fellow Greek MAST, a private SME with technical expertise, which served as the technical backup of KMOP during the development of the original PoD tool. In Bulgaria, DDBZ, as an experienced VET provider with extensive experience in training and European projects, is joined by a special needs school that has a particular focus on children with DS. In Hungary, the Down Syndrome Association will work closely with a progressive educational centre that has the technical expertise and experience to undertake the adaptation of the tool for the Hungarian context. The project also benefits from several associated partners that in various ways offer their support. The main project outcome will be the revised tool in Bulgarian, Hungarian and English, accompanied by an e-learning platform and a complementary teaching methodology. Collateral outcomes will be dissemination and exploitation tools, such as the web site, public presentations, articles and press releases.In terms of envisaged impact, it is expected to be significant both numerically (the partnership can reach over 3000 final beneficiaries, end-users and stakeholders) and in terms of results, empowerment of target groups and final beneficiaries.
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