Guides to social participation (WC2012-057)

Background

Starting date: 01/12/2012

This project is funded by a grant of Vereniging Bartimeus Sonneheerdt and a grant of ZonMw, program InZicht.

Social participation is challenging for people with visual impairments. As a result, on average social networks are smaller, romantic relationships formed later, educational achievements lower, and career prospects limited. The support of young adolescents on their way towards that goal may benefit from the knowledge and experience of adults that have overcome
similar difficulties. Therefore, a mentoring program will be implemented in which adolescent youth with visual impairments are matched with successfully participating adults with visual impairments. Scientific knowledge of national longitudinal series of measurements witin the same project and based on previous work of the projectleader (Kef; see www.psy.vu.nl/verderkijken) ) into different domains of social participation will be used to develop and test the Mentor Support program. The effect of the program will be tested in a randomized clinical trial with 120 adolescents, with pretest, posttest, and follow-up. Three conditions are included to test the working ingredients: 1) care as usual, 2) care as usual + Mentor Support by experience experts with visual impairments , 3) care as usual + Mentor Support by young adults without visual impairments. Block randomization will be used in a way that possible mentees and mentors are firstly divided into four regions of our country. The mentors will be recruited based on a longitudinal analysis of pathways towards social participation. Mentors without visual impairments are extensively selected and trained students of HBO or univeristy education centers. The benefits of this project include increased client participation, insights in the nodes that determine the course of social participation, and the implementation of a program that may increase the effects of support to adolescents with visual impairments.