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Smartphones, YouTube can help people with intellectual disability


Toronto: Tablets, smartphones and YouTube can go a long way in helping people with intellectual disability (ID) cope up with these challenges, say researchers from Concordia University in Montreal.

By using these tools to create videos that explain their life experiences and successes, such people can become more self-empowered while demonstrating and teaching their skills to peers.

“The collective message we see in these videos is clearly one of people with ID being able to lead satisfying lives and feel good about living, working and playing on a daily basis. And when people with ID see their peers succeed, it inspires them,” said Ann-Louise Davidson, associate professor in Concordia’s department of education.

He worked with eight individuals with ID to co-create moving personal video testimonials.

Using iPads, participants wrote and directed short videos that highlight important aspects of their lives.

They then shared rough cuts of the videos with a focus group, receiving feedback as well as praise, prior to uploading the videos to a shared YouTube channel, accessible to the public.

Davidson says video production can be extremely empowering but videos for people with ID are almost never made by them or with them in collaboration.

“People with ID have very few positive models of people with ID who are successful in society, and most of these models can be criticised as tokenizations — people with ID who are misleadingly high functioning,” she explained in a paper published in the journal Social Inclusion.

Davidson used what’s called the capability approach to help participants make decisions about what aspects to highlight in their videos.

Results were encouraging as all participants provided enough information about their capabilities and no one was intimidated by the technology.

“With powerful mobile technologies so readily available and accessible, people with ID can and should produce their own educational resources,” Davidson noted.

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