In my master's thesis, I focused on the prevalence of easy-to-read in social care centres in Slovenia, where they offer training, work, and care services for adults with intellectual disabilities (hereinafter IDD). On the part of the professionals at the centre, I was interested in their knowledge of the easy-to-read and its use while working with service users. Furthermore, concerning adults with IDD, I have researched the areas of easy-to-read, inclusion, and active citizenship.
In the theoretical part, I was initially developing a theory from active citizenship to easy-to-read as an aspect of empowering people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I wrote about (active) citizenship, (un)equal opportunities, and empowerment concerning easy-to-read. I then introduced the target group of my master's thesis, adults with intellectual disabilities, the changing attitudes of society towards them, the difference between integration and inclusion concerning people with IDD, and described how education, training, work, and care for these people are carried out. I also wrote about the process of reading, reading literacy in Slovenia, and reading related to people with IDD. In the fourth section of the theoretical part, I covered some of the activities aimed at integrating people with IDD into society. Furthermore, I presented the systemic basis related to people with IDD and Easy-to-read. I continued in detail about easy-to-read, how it has developed in Slovenia, for whom it was intended, guidelines and rules, types of materials and organization involved, as well as projects and easy-to-read abroad. The last section of the theoretical part is briefly devoted to the library as a place of accessible materials.
The empirical part contains qualitative research, which I conducted with female professionals, working in social care centres across Slovenia, providing training, work and care services to adults with IDD. Based on the analysis of the interviews conducted with six professionals, I found out to what extent and in what way easy-to-read is present in the centre, as well as to what extent users are interested in it and how the centre help to promote reading culture. Additionally, I found out how the interviewees understood the notion of inclusion and active citizenship and in which aspects of social life reading could be used.
In my master's thesis, I found out that professionals' understanding of the term inclusion is closer to that of integration. According to professionals, the users' interest in reading is linked to their cognitive abilities. They still use children's and adolescent literature for adults with IDD. The centre promotes a reading culture among users and staff use easy-to-read materials in their work. The need for adapted materials is a matter of difference of opinion among the professionals. I have found that the use of light reading is foremost important in the communication with the users itself, and only later in different materials. Professionals recognize the necessity of easy-to-read in various aspects of social functioning of people with IDD, which brings users more independence, decision-making capacity, empowerment, increased information, access to a variety of content, and building of reading skills. Active citizenship is understood as the activity of a person who is an equal member of society, who exercises his/her rights as a citizen, who participates and contributes to society, and who connects and cooperated with others. Finding information, understanding, and using information are principal for active citizenship. In this case, easy-to-read is one way of accessing information. The contribution of the master's thesis is both in the field of sociology as well as in the field of pedagogy. For the field of sociology, the thesis is important, as it opens up new avenues of research for the inclusion and participation of people with IDD in society and, to a lesser extent reveals to what extent reading can be present in our society or what path it takes in the Republic of Slovenia. The following contribution of the thesis coincides with both disciplines, namely bringing an understanding of the importance of easy-to-read. From a sociological point of view, reading can be an important element for the integration of people with IDD into society, and from a pedagogical point of view, it opens up new ways of working with people with IDD. The thesis also creates the possibility of raising the profile of easy-to-read among the general and professional public, both on the sociology and pedagogy sides. From the pedagogical point of view, the thesis paves the way for an increase in the number of different materials in easy-to-read, by providing knowledge on the types and methods of adaptation and encouraging the independent preparation of texts (rules, guidelines). Another important contribution to pedagogy is that the thesis provides a basis for further academic study, where easy-to-read possibly is developed as a supplement to an existing course or as an independent (elective) subject at college.