Elena Mantovani


This work aims to clarify how it is possible to structure a path of personal and professional growth for people with Down syndrome with a biopsychosocial model (Engel, 1977). It also tries to explain how disability can be defined as the consequence or the result of a complex relationship between an individual’s health condition and the context in which he or she lives and works.

The biopsychosocial model is a theoretical orientation that considers the individual and his health

conditions dependent on physical, but also personal and environmental variables. Every condition of health or illness is the consequence of the interaction between biological, psychological and social factors.

The ICF, International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (OMS, 2001), in line with this model, introduces specific environmental factors that can describe the same environment with respect to which the functioning itself is evaluated.

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems theory (1979), Lewin’s writings about Field Theory (1951) and the Environmental psychology opened a horizon in the analysis of how the interaction between an individual and the environment affects human functioning.

The functioning of disabled or not person is the result of a relationship between individual features and context. According to ICF conception, the context acts as a barrier or facilitator of functioning.

Following BPS model as expressed in the ICF, the approach to individuals and their health problems aims to give a global view of the person, not only of his disability, while enhancing skills and creating a favourable context.

The educational proposal of the team of the restaurant "21 grams®" in Brescia is based on these innovative aspects. This situation differs from other similar ones on the national territory thanks to the theoretical model that supports the training of users, as well as a team of professional educators and professionals in catering, coordinated by a psychologist. The team also makes use of an innovative evaluation sheet, divided in two parts: how to be and how to give.

Individual, context and community are the main objectives on which the team of the "21 grams®" is focused.

The development of individual identity and abilities (Cottini, 2016) by the construction of facilitating tools that allow autonomy work (Bruner, Wood, Ross, 1976, Vygotskji, 1934); the awareness of the context, which can be both a facilitator or a barrier, by training employees and customers and introducing even physical changes to the job environment (Soresi, 2016); the community by creating a network of companies that recognize disability and diversity as added critical value for their competitiveness.

The team needs highly ecological assessment methods, congruent with people’s life contexts. His

intervention aims to define the customized project on the basis of an operating profile, which allows you to organize the work, define entity, resources and roles to be put in place. This allows to remodulate barriers and support facilitators over time.

It is clearly a matter of developing an innovative evaluation method.




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Italian Journal of Health Education, Sports and Inclusive Didactics 
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