Assistive technologies (AT) are the products, services, and systems which are used by persons with disabilities to achieve participation in society, and the realization of rights afforded by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. An estimated 1 billion people currently require AT, however only 1 in 10 has access to the appropriate AT to meet their needs. AT is critical to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and recognized by the World Health Organization as a key priority. In particular, the WHO has identified the importance of policies and systems to support AT, with a recent resolution from the World Health Assembly.
As an MSCA fellow, Dr. Emma Smith will receive training from Prof. Malcolm MacLachlan, Research and innovation lead for the WHO Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology initiative, and professor of psychology and social inclusion at Maynooth University. A secondment to the European Disability Forum will provide Dr. Smith with training in stakeholder engagement, policy advocacy, and inclusion of persons with disabilities.
The Assistive technologies in Resilient and Inclusive Systems and Enabling Environments (ARISE) project will develop and pilot a framework for resilient and inclusive systems to enable persons with disabilities to participate in their communities through the use of AT. ARISE uses a participatory research approach which engages persons with disabilities, academic researchers, and policy makers to understand the critical components of a policy framework. The ARISE Framework will be published in coordination with the European Disability Forum, and used by national and regional governments to craft policies which are resilient to global forces, including crises like COVID-19. This research stems from current evaluation of assistive technology services in light of the global crisis, and an understanding of the need to engage all stakeholders, especially AT users, in policy development
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