Disability and professional Empowerment Engaging 3d Printing

Project Details


In the current social context characterized by a globally aging population, the number of people with disabilities is set to increase. According to the Survey on Health and Social Inclusion in Europe (Eurostat 2016), disabled people over 15
years old are 70 million. According to Istat (2018), there are 3 million and one hundred thousand people with disabilities in Italy. At the European level, one-fifth of the population is expected to have some form of disability by 2020. The EU and all its member states are parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). For the EU, this treaty has inspired the content of the European Disability Strategy 2020-2030. All EU laws, existing or future, must be in line with this Convention. The European Parliament also supports the active inclusion and true and full participation of people with disabilities in society. According to MEP Helga Stevens, disability is not limited to one area but touches all areas of society. Education must also be inclusive and this must also concern the accessibility of European programs such as Erasmus+. Within this social framework, it is essential to change the way in which people with disabilities are taken care of, so that they are no longer merely "assisted", but oriented towards the development of autonomy, social inclusion and the prevention of forms of marginalization. The DEEP project starts from the assumption that, in order to face these social changes and the challenges arising from them, it is crucial to intervene in the training of
professionals who, for various reasons, establish relationships with people with disabilities. Recent studies show that in rehabilitation, educational and professional interventions, the technologies currently available can help rehabilitation, autonomy, school, work and social integration of people with all types of disabilities, age and disabling disease.
Specifically, in the world of 3D printing, the potential of technology emerges especially when it is the disabled themselves to be co-designers of their aids: it is therefore crucial to also consider their needs in the realization of such aids through 3D printing, since various studies show that up to one third of aids are not used by disabled people today (Scherer 2002,
Federici and Borsci 2014) for various reasons: personal factors (age, gender, performance expectations, change in selfimage, type of disability), characteristics of the aid (quality, functions, aesthetics) (Wessels et al. 2003).
The objective of DEEP is to create a training model that is able to bring together professionals from different professional categories, overcoming the current logic that disability is a topic limited to specific sectors. This training model will have the following specific objectives: - to develop skills in the field of 3D prototyping; - to bring the world of social and health care to the potential of the use of 3D printing in the world of disability; - to make makers acquire and increase in social and health care professionals, relational and pro-social skills essential to work with people with disabilities; - to reach the description of units of learning outcomes assessable and, therefore, usable in the description and evaluation of professional profiles). Taking charge of the person with disabilities, in its entirety, needs a set of skills that make a holistic approach necessary. The direct target of DEEP will be composed of: health professionals (doctors, psychologists, nurses, physiotherapists), occupational therapists and experts in the field of 3D printers (defined as makers). Only with a change in the logic of taking care of the disabled, which is no longer purely "welfare" is possible to go in the right and authentic direction of social inclusion (first horizontal priority). Inclusion is a right based on the full participation of people with disabilities in all spheres of life, on the basis of equality in relation to others, without discrimination, respecting dignity and enhancing human diversity, through appropriate interventions and the overcoming of obstacles and prejudices. Inclusion is effective only with the direct participation of excluded and discriminated people (Griffo, 2007).
Short titleDEEP
Effective start/end date1/01/2231/12/23

Collaborative partners

  • Casa di Cura Villa delle Magnolie (lead)
  • HUB spa
  • HERTIN - Consulting and Education Company
  • Technoport SA
  • Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)


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