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Union Nationale des Associations de Parents et Amis de Personnes Handicapées.
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Francois Barissat.

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This publication is dealing with the report of France on experiences of user participation in R&D oriented work.


In the field of Information and Communication Technologies for disabled people many tools and prototypes are developed in joint projects, between representatives of users and industrial partners or universities. The main problem are the costs of the adaptation and the inadequacy of financial help for persons with disabilities.
Another problem is the multiplication of the project results; consequently, most of these projects are only prototypes and are never commercialised.

The development of alternative and augmentative technologies must taken into account as soon as possible a real participation of users, in tools conception. A good method is the constitution of user groups and the participation of these groups in the management of the project, and not only in a final test of products.

A catalogue of adapted software for people with mental handicaps is edited by UNAPEI, a user organisation, every two years. The users are taking part in the realisation of this document by experimenting and testing the software in institutes and/or in families, respresenting varies age-groups and disabilities. A working group named "Technical Committee of new Technologies for Mental Handicap"has been constituted for this purpose, involving users and the software socienties concerned. Another working group: "National User Club" raises 150 families and institutes, and constitutes the second step of involvement by regular meetings and networking on ICT R&D.

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