Pomeranian Regional Convention of Persons with Disabilities

More than 70 persons participated in this year’s 6th edition of the Pomeranian Regional Convention of Persons with Disabilities titled “The Path to Independent Life – How to Act to Achieve this Aim?". The event under the patronage of the Fahrenheit Universities in Gdańsk took place online on 20 October this year. The participants in the meeting talked about wise support, empathy, the need to change the staff education model and about good practices in building the independence of persons with disabilities in the region. The convention was simultaneously interpreted into sign language.


The meeting was opened by lawyer Katarzyna Heba (the ambassador of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), and by Marek Wysocki, Associate Professor of the Gdańsk Tech (a member of the Programme Committee for the Congress of Persons with Disabilities), who greeted the guests and encouraged them to actively take part in the discussion. The event was divided into three topic panels. In the first part titled “Assistance as the Path to Independent Life” Ms Heba discussed the assumptions to the programme “Personal Assistant to a Person with a Disability”. In the next part, the speakers raised the topic regarding staff education for accessibility and support concerning persons with disabilities. Paweł Orłowski (a representative of the Fahrenheit Universities) had a chance to present new challenges facing education in Pomerania. In that part of the discussion, the floor was also taken by, among others, Joanna Matuszewska (the Gdańsk Radio) and Agnieszka Kossakowska (the Foundation for the Development of Empathy Education), who introduced the role of language in building the subjectivity of persons with disabilities.  In the last panel, the participants in the event focussed on good practices in the region and on system solutions which are aimed at making the Pomeranian Region the best suitable place ensuring the high quality of life to persons with special needs.



photo Marshal Office

At the end of the event, several postulates were chosen, which were presented during the 7th Congress of Persons with Disabilities on 23 October this year:  

  1. The personal assistant to a person with a disability should not be his/her parent as this disturbs the relationships and restricts the independent life of a person with a disability.
  2. Dissemination of assistant service programmes among territorial government units.
  3. Assistance should be provided along two paths – both by self-government units and non-governmental organisations.
  4. The development of training in vocations supporting persons with disabilities in vocational education, including alternative communication, rehabilitation manager, assistant, work coach and other vocations, and ensuring finance.
  5. Language as the key element of social inclusion; promotion of the departure from language using statements about disability based on “care” towards the language based on “support”.
  6. Extension – to include private entities providing universal services – of the provisions of the Act on the assurance of accessibility to persons with special needs.
  7. Holding a debate concerning education in support of persons with disabilities in Pomerania, and conducting a dialogue with higher education institutions.
  8. All-purpose design as a necessary element of shop classes, and the training of teachers at all education levels.
  9. Development of the competencies of school and university staff in teaching classes on accessibility, communication and functioning of persons with disabilities.
  10. Development of the various forms of aided housing as a necessary element of independent life.

The event was organised by the Universal Design Centre of the Gdańsk Tech, Polish Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability, the branch in Gdańsk, the Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport, Schooling and Education Centre No. 2 for Deaf and Hearing Impaired Persons in Wejherowo, Lawyer’s Office of Katarzyna Heba, Helen Keller Foundation and the Regional Centre for Social Policy, with support from the Gdańsk-Gdynia-Sopot Metropolitan Area as a partner. Details and broadcast of the meeting are available at the website of the Regional Governor’s Office.