Phase 1: Developing the OIVA model
In Finland approximately 2500 of the 30 000 persons with intellectual disabilities live in institutions. Most of them are adults with severe and profound intellectual disabilities. They usually have strong dependency on other people in their daily life, and have developed severe learned helplessness. Interaction with people with severe intellectual disabilities requires sensitivity and skill to observe and to react to the partners’ subtle communication initiations.
The goal of the OIVA – Participation through Interaction project carried out at the Communication and Technology Centre Tikoteekki of the Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAIDD) in 2005–2008 was to promote interaction and communication between adults with severe intellectual disabilities and their communication partners in daily life.
The project proceeded towards this goal by
- collecting and disseminating information
- producing material to support interaction between people with severe intellectual disabilities and their communication partners
- testing with the communities participating in the project a process-based working method that supports the interaction
- performing a study on the impacts of the developed working method in the communities participating in the project
- developing the OIVA Interaction Model on the basis of the gained experiences.
The project produced a 97-page section on interaction for the Papunet website of FAIDD for the use of professionals and students in the field. Information was also disseminated by organizing 59 training events with a total of 2250 attendants. The project also developed a new OIVA Interaction Model for communities, which was tested in close cooperation with the project partners, the Ylinen Rehabilitation Centre, Kehitysvammatuki 57 and the Honkalampi Centre.
A study was performed on the testing phase to investigate the impacts of the applied working method on the interaction between the adults with severe intellectual disabilities and staff members in the participating communities. The project also produced a material package, Oivalluksia. The designing of this material proceeded from the needs of the adults with severe intellectual disabilities. Information was also compiled on the Papunet website on how other different materials can be used to support interaction.
Compiling the information on the Papunet website effectively enhanced its dissemination, since the site reaches broadly a target group with interest in the topic. On the basis of the conducted study, it can also be noted that the working method applied during the project had a positive impact on interaction in the participating communities and improved the understanding between adults with severe intellectual disabilities and their communication partners.
Phase 2: Disseminating the OIVA model
In the future it is important to ensure that the OIVA Interaction Model developed on the basis of the experiences and research results from the project is put into practice also in new units offering services for people with severe intellectual disabilities. This requires that more guiders are trained in the use of the OIVA model, which in turn calls for a carefully designed training model. Additional resources are needed for this development and dissemination work.
Communication and Technology Centre Tikoteekki has started a new project, Into Interaction with OIVA. The project is implemented with the funding of Finland’s Slot Machine Association (RAY) in the years 2009–2012. The goal of the project is to disseminate OIVA Interaction Model as well as develop and apply the model for the people with severe dementia and their communication partners.
- Development Coordinator, speech therapist Kaisa Martikainen,
tel. +358 9 34809 362