A person with disability has much more disadvantages than one without disability such as insufficient education, bad health conditions, low employment and poverty. The legal, economic, social and cultural conditions that countries have can be either helpful for the burden or obstacles. Sometimes such conditions are a major obstacle for people with disabilities to participate in social life and become active citizens. One of the most frequent disabilities is the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). The SCI is a stroke that occurs as a result of damage to the spinal cord for several reasons. A significant proportion of people with SC paralysis lose some or all of its ability to walk and have to use wheelchairs. This permanent damage leads to loss of muscle functions, sensation and autonomic functions. According to Ministry of Health data, the number of SCI in Turkey is about 150.000. Of the current SC paralysis cases, 34% have been recorded in young people between 20 and 29 years of age. While there is no comprehensive statistics available for Turkey, the age range in which SCI is most seen in the world is 20-29 for men and 15-19 for women (WHO) and %30 of SCI patients face with severe depression and self-dissatisfaction as a result.
Many of the consequences associated with SCI do not result from the condition itself, but from inadequate medical care and rehabilitation services, and from barriers in the physical, social and policy environments that exclude people with SCI from participation in their communities. Gündüz (2010), underlined that employment rate of people with SCI in Turkey is just %21 and there is a need to maximize the employment capacity by social and educational activities after injury. Kurtaran (2014) also indicates that, the rate of returning to work was found is only %14.6 among people with SCIs. In the EU, there are similar problems, causes and consequences, as well as changes from country to country. For example, in our project partners’ countries, the level of life satisfaction of individuals with SCI in Poland is around 23.5%. The EU average is 36.1%. Again, the same research shows that the life satisfaction of young people is low; (CORDIS 49543) that they are not able to participate in sport activities, get married and work. In addition, one of the most important problems of young people with SCI is their lack of self-sufficiency and active living. At home, depressed and desperate, young people who spend time in need of assistance are faced with problems such as muscle loss and uncoordinated use of muscles.
The ultimate goal of our project is to strengthen young people with the SC paralysis to get involved in social life and support them to be self-sufficient young people. This aim will be achieved by bringing technology and sports together with innovative outputs. We will produce three intellectual outputs to answer that need. To that end;
– It will be created three VR (virtual reality) mobile applications that will help them overcome the inaction problem of spinal cord paralysis.
– It will be produced and test a social inclusion program built using international, non-formal teaching methods complementary to the VR practice to be developed
– It will be made fieldresearch for analysing the current situation
Our project consortium consists of 5 different members from different sectors. Bahçeşehir University, International Spinal Cord Injury Association, Development and Innovation Office from Turkey, Trytaios Disabled Sport Club from Greece, lastly Politechnica Slaska from Poland will be in our consortium. Many activities and works will implement in order to reach project aim and targets. Transnation Meetings, Producing Intellectual Outputs, Local and international Multiplier Events, Study Visits and International Pilot Trainings will be included in the project.
You can see project details on European Commission web page.