Endowed professorship for Paula Sterkenburg

Dr Paula Sterkenburg has been appointed Endowed Professor of ‘Persons with a visual or visual and intellectual disability; social relationships & ICT’ at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, per June 1st 2019. This chair has been endowed by the Bartiméus foundation (Stichting Bartiméus) and the Bartiméus fund (Bartiméus Fonds) and is part of the academic workspace Bartiméus-VU (Academische Werkplaats Bartiméus-VU).

25-06-2019 | 15:46

The chair links two areas of care: the care for people with a visual impairment and the care for those with both a visual and intellectual disability. Furthermore, the chair is also aimed to forge a connection between science and practice by underpinning the various ICT applications and assessing their effectiveness in actual practice. 

Promoting secure relationships
The chair is intended to contribute to quality of life for people with a visual or visual and intellectual disability, with a focus on social relationships and ICT applications. Sterkenburg: 'The aim is for people to feel happy, good about themselves, and secure about their relationships with their parents, caregivers and others. We will also be supporting the parents of children with a disability to increase their understanding of their children’s needs, and to increase awareness among caregivers about the needs of their clients. Certain ICT applications, for example, may help adult clients in dealing with separation anxiety.' Paula van Woudenberg, Director Knowledge & Innovation at Bartiméus: ‘Persons with a visual or visual and intellectual disability require extremely specialised diagnostics and care. Bartiméus is a centre of expertise for questions regarding how to live with a visual impairment, also in cases where this is combined with, for example, cognitive, social or behavioural problems. This chair provides leverage for increased support, through the academic workspace.’ 

Paula Sterkenburg obtained her doctorate (Phd) in 2008, from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She was an assistant professor at the Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences (VU), and is conducting research on social relationships and attachment of persons with a visual or visual and intellectual disability. Furthermore, she is working as a healthcare psychologist at Bartiméus, where she is advising professionals who work with people with a visual or visual and intellectual disability. In addition, she is participating in the teaching of healthcare professionals.