From a constructivist point of view, EDUCATIONAL DESIGN WORK can be seen as a process co-constructed by several subjects and aimed at facilitating a CHANGE through the reactivation of the individual creativity of the person; the adventure of two or more subjects who discover together where the person can feel a sense of well-being.
This design must be based on six guidelines:
1. ASK THE PERSON
The projects of A. Iantaffi, I. Sinka and J. Jarvis of 2002 and M. Sheridan of 2000, represent examples of studies in the field of education of people with specific disabilities in a constructivist perspective: in both studies, the group of researchers chooses to move from the most common perspective of “normalization process” of the person with disabilities (how to define what is normal or standard ?) and therefore from the dilemma “integration/segregation”, towards a hypothesis of the person as the best expert of himself and therefore as the “best source” for a reflection on the experience of social integration.
This means considering together which kind of choices (e.g. integrative or exclusive but also others) are best for the person, considering that it may make little sense to know only the opinion of educators, teachers, family, psychologist, doctor, neighbor, expert … and all those who share “taking charge” of a project in which the protagonist is absent!
2. CREATE HYPOTHESES AND VERIFY THEM
In educational work and planning, the first fundamental point is to create hypotheses based on the elements of knowledge and understanding of the person.
The work of creating hypotheses is carried out by all members of the team: hypotheses arise and occur in the relationship with the person and are questioned.
3. REACTIVATING A MOVEMENT
The work on the possibility to CHOOSE/DECIDE, to move, of each person (of the subject but also of the educator himself) and on the assumption of RESPONSIBILITY with respect to the choices he makes.
This applies, for example, to the proposal of activities, situations, which the team anticipates as potentially stimulating for the person: the possibility of choosing what to experiment, the plausibility of doing so and the responsibility for choices, is a fundamental aspect of the programming of activities within the project itself.
In educational action it is fundamental to build the sense of what happens as something that happens between two or more people or something that happens in the relationship between them. Everything is born and becomes the REPORT between the person and his context (we consider the possibility that it is neither events that determine us, nor we that determine events, but it is in the relationship that we can facilitate changes).For example, a behavior described as aggressive by a person can be built as a characteristic, or as a way that characterizes the relationship between those two people at that time. This applies to both users and family members (e.g. social and educational animation).
5. TAKING CHARGE
It is necessary to consider the history of the person, his development cycles, the history of the diagnosis, the difficulties, the interventions and paths experimented.
Taking on a global or overall responsibility means not considering the person in segments, in small pieces, but drawing our attention to everything that is part of his life, in particular to his family and the context in which the subject and family move, live, of which they are part. It also means considering the person in the different areas of his or her existence: an impeccable intervention in a single area cannot necessarily improve a person’s life.
An effective takeover guarantees the continuity of the intervention through the construction of the NETWORKS: the pivot of a network is always less significant than the link itself. It is necessary to work on the construction of those links that guarantee continuity, to work on the activation of resources and on the recognition of the validity of the readings.
Effective planning needs to be comprehensive, contextualized in space and time, and customized to ensure continuity through the construction of networks.
6. MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH – TEAMWORK
MULTIDISCIPLINARY does not mean that it considers SOMMATORY as more than one resource/profession working in watertight compartments; it means INTERACTION, despite the fact that each profession/resource/person still tends to tune in to their own specific priority schemes or constructs.
The MULTIDISCIPLINARY EQUIPMENT therefore represents the PRIMARY CONTEXT of educational planning: educational paths are constructed as “multidisciplinary trajectories” within which the most relevant changes for the person are more related to subjectively relevant “details” than to major objective events.
7. Quality of life: the importance of the concept of ”Orthogonal Position”.
The theory of Personal Constructs defines “orthogonal position” as the position that a therapist takes in a relationship with the patient when he moves with that person slipping away from those central (nuclear) dimensions of meaning of the person and that the therapist assumes have to do with the disorder. If the therapist also allowed the patient to relate to him with the same constructs he uses in relationships with other people outside the therapy, he would not favour any movement but would delay the repetition of such constructs and the patient would not experience a different experience (i.e. he would not experience a recursive process.). The term orthogonality is a term that draws on geometric language and makes it more understandable at the figurative level the therapist’s position in such a way that the client cannot place it on any of the dimensions of meaning on which he usually moves, otherwise, again, he could not have a different experience. Orthogonality recalls perpendicularity: perpendicularity cannot be separated from horizontality. Here, let’s imagine the dimension of meanings that the patient uses as a horizontal dichotomous line, that is to say that he has for poles two keys to interpret the world in contrast. The understanding of the other (in this case the patient, the athletes with disabilities in the case of the association) allows the tendency to the knowledge of the horizontal dimension. The understanding of the other therefore becomes essential otherwise how could a therapist position himself perpendicularly if he did not try to understand what he should position himself perpendicularly?
Historically, the social and health field has approached disability and discomfort in general in the dimension of meaning, which we could geometrically represent as a horizontal line that extends dichotomously between two poles in contrast, which are welfare on the one hand and reintegration into society (after years spent in asylums or mainly care centers) on the other. This is the dimension in which the ASD QuartoTempo Calcio project seeks to position itself orthogonally, vertically, a third way, in short, that is not detached from this dimension but that originates from it and that at the same time moves in a different direction that favours a recursive movement. Welfarism, one of the two poles, is one of the ways of interpreting the concept of “assisting” and has its roots in an approach to the person that does not focus on the point of view of the assisted and therefore the understanding of what is important for it, but assumes that there are general needs that are central to all people. In this way, therefore, the risk is to “lose sight of” the person. Welfarism can be useful in a phase of support and support, but carried out over time risks multiplying the conditions for the person to put himself in a passive position, repetitive and with few experiential alternatives. The forced reintegration of people (the other pole of the dichotomous dimension) who have lived in protected places, although in many cases ghettos, such as asylums and, to a lesser extent, social welfare centres, has created problems first and foremost for the persons reintegrated themselves, but also for society, since the relational experiences within these structures are difficult to reproduce in society.
In the definition of orthogonality it has been said that the third way must not be separated from the dimension it is perpendicular to, but that it originates from it and that at the same time it moves in a different direction from it. In the idea of this project, the concept of “assisting” and the concept of “integrating” then become that point of origin from which the new different direction to pursue is born; a difference that originates from a different interpretation of these two concepts. From a hermeneutical constructivist point of view, “assisting” is “being next to” the person with a dynamic, non static vision of him or her: the person is in continuous movement of expansion, accommodation, verification of his or her way of functioning and living; each person continues to develop or change from the moment in which he or she is born, and can therefore be considered as a “form of movement”.
This means never to give for definitive and static a reading/understanding of it but to consider it a modality/characteristic or a moment of its development and personal growth. This has important implications in the relationship with the person, mainly in terms of hope for the possibility of personal change.
Let’s go and see what is the specific objective we have set ourselves in the project: the quality of life. The quality of life represents the PRIMARY OBJECTIVE and the fundamental CRITERION for evaluating the effectiveness of the project.
There are many theoretical models at the base of the definition of the concept of quality of life, models created and used in the social, health and community spheres.
What is referred to is the Becker model (1993) in which it is considered as a starting point the observation that for each individual it is difficult to find reasons for satisfaction and well-being in areas of life that are not in their own interest (even if they experience success, their perception of satisfaction may not be relevant). The model starts from the definition of general life areas or GENERAL AREAS applicable to all people and examines the relationship between the individual perception of the importance (I) attributed to these areas and the individual perception of satisfaction (S) proven in them; moreover, the model proposes a combination of elements of evaluation of the quality of life, introducing the consideration of the opportunities (O) that the person has to develop their own interests and of the effective capacity or participation in decision-making (D) that can put in place in that area. From the development of this model was born the QUALITY OF LIFE INSTRUMENTS PACKAGE which consists of a set of self and hetero evaluation questionnaires.