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Assistance to the person

29/03/2018

Digital technology working to enhance the independence of persons with Down’s Syndrome

The purpose of the ANDDI project (French acronym for digital assistance at home for learning disabilities) is to help persons with Down’s Syndrome in their everyday lives, through the use of new technologies. All details of this project, from the technology used to the various key steps in its deployment are presented.

The main goal of ANDDI is to enhance the independence of persons already living in an apartment, but also to help those who aim to achieve residential independence.

The project is based on the DomAssist technology, developed by the Phoenix team at Inria Bordeaux - South-West, a home assistance technology proposing a catalogue of customisable applications, similar to the stores found on smartphones. The user can thus easily select the applications they want and customise their home assistance experience.

Home safety

The technology can be used to guarantee the safety of the living space (for example, by managing electrical appliances) and the person (management of persons entering and exiting the home, detection of unusual situations, transmission of alerts, etc.), by means of a system of notifications using a tablet.

Supervising day to day activities

For example, it proposes help with managing a timetable, with the performance of daily tasks, a system of appointment reminders (medical, work, leisure) and so on.

Maintaining social ties

It facilitates communication by email (simplified communication with family, friends, etc.), helps keep the person aware of activities taking place close to where they live (diary of local events or leisure activities), etc.

The Phoenix team worked in collaboration with the “Handicap, Activity, Cognition, Health” laboratory of Bordeaux University and theTrisomie 21 Franceassociation for this project, financed by the latter and the Regional Council of theNouvelle Aquitaine region. This work could only be possible with the involvement of the Gironde association, the participation of the adults concerned, their families, as well as professionals from the Girondins departments of Trisomie 21 Nouvelle Aquitaine.

The work first of all consisted in analysing the cognitive and daily life difficulties and the home independence needs expressed by the person with Down’s Syndrome.

These analyses were carried out using neuropsychology tests, questionnaires and interviews with the future users, but also with family and professional carers.

The DomAssist technology digital assistance applications then had to be adapted.

This second step configured the assistance applications to the cognitive profiles and characteristics of this population. These include reminders about and help with carrying out leisure activities (playing a musical instrument, watching TV programmes, etc.), help with keeping up the apartment (tidying, doing the housework, etc.) and managing laundry (run the washing machine, dry the laundry, etc.), or help with planning appointments (prepare for the appointment, leave for the appointment, etc.).

Finally, the last step consists in deploying these applications with the persons concerned. At present, they are being trialled with 4 people for a 12-month period. Individualised longitudinal monitoring enables the digital aid to be adjusted to the progress made and changes observed. The preliminary results show good acceptance and high usability of assistance among the persons with whom it was deployed. Initial feedback from the participants and their entourage is positive (improved performance of certain activities, proposal of new applications, etc.).

The eventual aim of this project is to evaluate the repercussions of this assistance technology on the independence and self-determination of the users. It is designed to address a major social issue, the aim of which is to improve the quality of life and social inclusion of persons suffering from learning disabilities.

Keywords: DomAssist Handicap Assistance à domicile Sciences cognitives

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