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SL and Psychology of Disability: a link experienced with the Third Sector in Extremadura from the University

Diversity in humans is a concept inherent in their nature. However, 10% of the population has some disability. It is therefore a broad sector that deserves to develop essential conceptual, classifying, and psychological evaluation and intervention aspects on the most prevalent groups, including university students. The methodology of “Service-Learning” (SL) implies, therefore, a first approach to groups very diverse in their support needs, to situate the role of the psychologist in the actions of these groups. On the other hand, it generates the first steps towards a very defined professional profile since it is related to the activities of a psychologist in different contexts of the community, social services, education and health with a clear focus on transdisciplinarity.

Such statements serve to argue for an inclusive way of university work and the possibility of building them from an applied ethical point of view. And thus, eliminate prejudices with reference to other subjects and teaching styles. We are professionals in the psychology of disability, or at least we must tend to it, from the vital need of the day to day in the university environment. And that commitment must be a constant ethics in any professional and personal path from the first beginning of university training in the Degree of Psychology. It is understood that each student has his/her agenda and that the availability of each person varies. That’s diversity. However, the focus on attention to diversity does not translate into going “slower”, and “lowering the level”, as is often interpreted from educational praxis. We equalize when everyone does the same thing, arriving at the same time, at the same academic product. That is not equal opportunities, that is pure and hard homogeneity, but from poor and mediocre performance indicators.

The implementation of SL in the subject Psychology of Disability in the 3rd year of Psychology aims to encourage all its students to try to reach, to generate strategies that allow overcoming the inconveniences of day to day as “adults”; with the peace of mind that this possible task of Psychology of Disability is a CHALLENGE, and that if we do not “meet” on that occasion, there are other possibilities, as in fact happens in the SL projects carried out.

That’s a non-significant curricular adjustment. In this direction, this communication tries to analyze the product generated, where the real demand and the response has been experienced; hence, the intrinsic motivation promoted in these needs of the Third Sector; humbly, with simplicity and from affection, … to try to get there, to do everything possible, not to give up… but at the same time, the possibility of activating other compensation mechanisms as a pertinent curricular adjustment that “allow” to do the same as the others. Even if you need other methodological formulas or more time to get the final academic product required by the program of the university subject.

That means adjusting the learning rhythms in the same applied psychological activity. Perhaps there is a focus of inclusive work in the 21st century: some students can arrive earlier, and others need more time to do so. Therefore, we must work in both directions; with those who can advance faster and with those who need more time to achieve those same objectives, whatever the causes of that objective fact that operationalizes any disability. That is why heterogeneity and inclusion are not easy. And equal opportunities is sometimes understood as “favor” or “privilege.” EQUALITY is just the opposite it implies treating not the same. We adjust psychoeducational care according to the need of the subject, also in the European Higher Education Area.

Keywords: Disability. University. Service-Learning. Psychology.

Country: Spain

Year: 2021-2022

Institution: Universidad de Extremadura

Person in charge: Inmaculada Sánchez Casado

Email: iscasado@unex.es

# of students: 82

Interaction with beneficiaries: Mixed

Academic Degree: Undergraduate

Discipline(s): Psychology | Special Needs | Education

Community Service Area & ODS: Good health and well-being |Reducing inequalities | Cultural diversity

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