VMP: Social Inclusion and Living in Community for Persons with Intellectual Disability

The panel discussions covered various topics related to the deinstitutionalization and community living for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID), the integration of technology and social policies, the importance of EU/ESF projects in transforming services, the role of community-based support, and the challenges in implementing practical projects for social inclusion. The speakers emphasized the need for improved housing services, access to support systems, and the involvement of civil society organizations. The importance of human-centered approaches and the integration of research and development in healthcare were also highlighted. The panel discussions provided several examples of technology use in the context of supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). Prof. Begona Garcia-Zapirain Soto discussed Health 4.0 and presented case studies that showcased the integration of technology in healthcare. Examples included the development of a device for Multiple Sclerosis treatment and grip strength devices for frailty assessment. These technological advancements aim to improve the quality of life and well-being of individuals with ID. Another example is the Kimi project, which utilizes serious gaming to assist children and adolescents with ID in training daily healthy habits. The active participation of users in co-creating the game, including character development and decision-making, enhances their confidence and independence. Another example highlighted was the eMC project, which utilizes an application to educate users about healthy eating habits. These projects demonstrate the positive interactions individuals with ID can have with technology, promoting independent living and overall quality of life. Furthermore, the EU project focusing on improving digital skills education and the development of the web platform Digi Academy was mentioned. This initiative aims to enhance the digital skills of individuals with ID and promote their active participation in digital technologies. It was recognized that while there are written documents and statements outlining community mobilization, the actual implementation of projects and activities is lacking. The centralized system and misalignment between strategies and reality were identified as obstacles to developing responsive social services. In conclusion, a quality integration of technology and social policies is crucial in effectively supporting individuals with ID.

Virtual Place

Zoom platform


Start: 25.05.2023
End: 25.05.2023


May 25th 2023, Thursday Joint workshop University of Zagreb & University of Deusto 15.00 – 15.30 prof. Daniela Bratković Deinstitutionalization and community living for people with intellectual disabilities in the city of Zagreb and Croatia 15.30-16.00 prof. Begona Garcia- Zapirain Soto Health 4.0: Case studies and challenges 16.00-16.30 Amaia Mendez Technological Support Systems and Services 16.30-17.00 Martina Zelić Social Services for people with Intellectual Disabilities in City of Zagreb 17.00 - 17.30 Discussion and conclusions

Total participants: 94 Total students: 27 Academic: 15 Non-academic staff at the university: 1 Total representatives of societal stakeholders: 51 (Professional/ Expert: 50, 1 representative of local government)

Based on the panel discussions, several conclusions and recommendations can be drawn:

• Deinstitutionalization and community living for individuals with ID require ongoing efforts and collaboration between civil society organizations, political actors, and the government. The process should focus on improving housing services, developing a comprehensive support service network, and promoting individualized support.

• Local initiatives and flexible support systems play a vital role in promoting the independence and social inclusion of individuals with ID. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can bridge the gap between individuals with ID and mainstream services, facilitating their access to opportunities and decision-making processes. • The concept of Health 4.0, which emphasizes patient and caregiver involvement, shared responsibilities, and shared decision-making in healthcare, holds significant potential for individuals with ID. Integrating research and development in healthcare, including the use of digital technologies, can improve education, emotion learning, social inclusion, and overall well-being for individuals with ID. • Technological support systems can enhance independent living and quality of life for individuals with ID. Serious gaming, like the Kimi project, can assist in training healthy habits, while applications can educate users about healthy lifestyles. Continuous support and implementation strategies are necessary for the effective utilization of these technologies. • EU/ESF projects have played a crucial role in transforming and deinstitutionalizing services for individuals with ID. These projects have contributed to the organization of housing services, early intervention programs, and respite care services. The involvement of users in various activities has increased community participation and improved the overall well-being of individuals with ID. • Clear social policies, swift implementation of deinstitutionalization, and the development of community-based services are necessary to address existing challenges. Outdated legislation, the persistence of a medical model, and regional disparities in social services should be addressed to ensure equal opportunities and access for individuals with ID across different regions. • The human-centered approach, exemplified by institutions that actively support the talents and independence of individuals with ID, is essential for their social inclusion. Institutions should foster opportunities for individuals with ID to engage in cultural, artistic, and employment activities, promoting their independence and integration into society. • Practical implementation of projects and activities for social inclusion is currently lacking, highlighting the need for better alignment between strategies outlined in policies and the realities on the ground. Overcoming the centralized system and empowering local communities to actively participate in shaping the support system is crucial for developing responsive social services.

In summary, a comprehensive approach that integrates technology and adequate social policies is essential in effectively supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). By addressing challenges, promoting community involvement, and implementing innovative solutions, we can create an inclusive society that enhances the well-being and quality of life for individuals with ID.


UNIC CityLabs


Social inclusion | digital innovation | disability | Disability | social inclusion

Type of Case


Organizing unic universities

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