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Dr Ivan Traina: Incoming Fellow

Project Title: Empowerment of youth with Intellectual Disabilities through Educational and training curricula for Acquiring employment Skills (E-IDEAS)

Host Institution: NUIG

Host PI: Dr Geraldine Leader

Home Institution: University of Bologna, Italy


Project Summary: In the 21st century, new strategies, new partnerships and new perspectives are needed in Ireland to empower youth with ID to acquire employment skills. E-IDEAS will meet this challenge with a new combination of skill-based internships, customized AT supports, collaborations with service providers, participatory research and measurements of change in attitudes. E-IDEAS, Empowerment of youth with Intellectual Disabilities through Education and training curricula for Acquiring employment Skills, offers new approaches to the pervasive unemployment and underemployment experienced by youth with ID. The project seeks to impact the prevalent mind-set and common beliefs in Ireland with respect to disability that serve to limit employment opportunities. The project will establish locally based collaborative partnerships to create a work-based training curriculum and build the foundation for a sustainable program. Through a mix of participatory research and qualitative and quantitative research methods, EIDEAS will engage youth with ID, family members and carers, service providers, educators and employers. The project will create and implement a work experience internship program with a Galway employer. Project participants will be 10 youth with mild to moderate ID that will be individually assessed for the information and communications technology and assistive technologies needed to best support them in the learning and work setting. Participants will be provided with a range of supports such as life coaching, peer-to-peer support with non-disabled co-workers and mentoring as appropriate. E-IDEAS will benefit from and add to the growing community of practice with the other ASSISTID projects. The proposed host institution is the National University of Ireland Galway with Dr. Geraldine Leader and Ms Lynnae Ruttledge as supervisors. The researcher is Dr. Ivan Traina, University of Bologna with ACC certification as a practiced coach by the International Coach Federation.

Bio: Ivan completed his PhD in Special Pedagogy at University of Bologna (2011-2014) with a specific focus on persons with disabilities and inclusive education. His PhD dissertation focused on social inclusion of vulnerable groups through participatory and emancipatory approaches, implementing active citizenship and socially innovative actions in the framework of civil & human rights model of disability.

He was involved in many international projects concerning educational and training processes, elaboration of learning and participatory methodologies and ICT-AT. He has a wide experience in EU projects as Research Advisor at the Department of Education Studies at the University of Bologna. Also, he was appointed as External Evaluator for the Erasmus Plus National Agency in Italy, for the EACEA in Brussels and for the EU funded projects TIDE (Towards Inclusive Development Education) and ENTELIS (The European Network for Technology Enhanced Learning in an Inclusive Society).
Prior to completing the PhD in 2014, he obtained a certification as Life Coach focusing his activity on interventions with persons with disabilities. He also carried out for many years a project focused on swimming activities for vulneable groups, mainly persons with intellectual disability.

Ivan’s main research interests include empowerment of youths with intellectual disability, educational and employment strategies, ICT-AT, participatory and emancipatory approaches and Human Rights model of disability.

Main publications (2013-present):

• Book:

Traina, I. (2017). Social inclusion through participatory & emancipatory approaches. Implementing active citizenship & socially innovative actions in the framework of human rights model of disability. Lambert Academic Publishing Publishing, ISBN-13: 978-3-659-71930-1

• Articles:

  • Traina I. (2016). Implementing a Service of Independent Living Using a Participatory Approach. In Open Access Library Journal, 3, e2591. DOI: 10.4236/oalib.1102591, PP. 1-10 ISSN: 2333-9721 Available at:
  • Traina I. (2015). Participatory & Emancipatory Approaches in Disability Research. Possible allies for supporting active citizenship, civil rights and actions of social innovation. In The Considering Disability Journal, Leeds, 2015. Available at:  
  • Traina I. (2015). Life Coaching: A Method for Enhancing Patients’ Emancipation. In International Journal of Innovation and Research in Educational Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 6, ISSN (Online): 2349–5219 Available at: 
  • Traina I., Caldin R., (2014). Designing trajectories of research for understanding barriers to inclusion and emerging needs of vulnerable groups. In Open Journal of Education. OJE 2014, 2(4): 179-188. DOI: 10.12966/oje.12.07.2014
  • Traina I., Caldin R., (2013). Multiple-discrimination of disabled children with a migrant background, in Children and non-discrimination. Interdisciplinary textbook (CREAN). ISBN 978-9949-9538-8-2, University Press of Estonia, 2014