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Keynote Speakers

The following keynote addresses have already been confirmed:

Al Cook, University of Alberta, Canada

Alan Newell, University of Dundee, U.K.

Karin Astegger, EASPD - European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities, Austria

Sarah Blackstone, Augmentative Communication Inc., U.S.A.

Fraser Bathgate, Disabled Divers International, U.K.

Inmaculada Placencia, European Commission, Directorate General for Justice

 

Design for us, not you!
Two veterans of over 40 years (each) of AT development, application and education are now on the receiving end of AT by virtue of age…as are many others throughout the world. These two old people will discuss and debate the impact of the increasing percentage of older people on AT development and service delivery - by 2050 there is predicted to be 2 billion people over 65 and 3 million over 100. They will debate the ways in which the technological sophistication of seniors is changing – how the "new old" may or may not differ from previous generations? Will major changes occur in the ways older people view and use technology in the future? How will this impact on both seniors, as they develop “special needs”, and the AT industry as it works to meet those needs ? What will be the major requirements of users in this sector ? Will they be aesthetics, functionality, usability, personalization and/or price, and how does "design for all" fit into these challenges ? Finally, what are the personal preferences, and ethical questions regarding privacy and equal access to AT of this increasingly important market segment for AT.
Al Cook
University of Alberta
Canada

Brief Bio
Al Cook is Professor of Speech Pathology and Audiology in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Alberta. Previously he served as Dean of the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Chair of the Health Sciences Council and Associate Dean, Research in the Faculty of Extension. Dr. Cook has worked with interdisciplinary teams to develop assistive devices and to assess the effectiveness of technology being used by persons with disabilities He received his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at the University of Colorado, a Masters in Bioengineering and doctorate from the University of Wyoming.
Dr. Cook co-authored with Janice Polgar, OTR, Cook and Hussey’s Assistive Technologies: Principles and Practice 3rd edition, and Essentials of Assistive Technologies both published by Elsevier in 2008 and 2012, respectively. He has co-edited three other textbooks with John Webster and others and has written numerous chapters in rehabilitation and biomedical engineering texts, monographs, peer reviewed papers and conference proceedings. He is currently writing about the lives of his sister (born 1936) and son (born 1968) both with severe intellectual disabilities. His current research is focused on the use of robotics to assess and develop cognitive and linguistic skills in young children who have severe disabilities.
Dr. Cook is currently a member of the Seniors Advisory Council of Alberta, Canada and is Past-President and Fellow of RESNA. He is a registered professional engineer (electrical) in California.

Alan Newell
University of Dundee
U.K.

Brief Bio
Alan Newell is an Emeritus Professor at the School of Computing at Dundee University. This contains one of the largest academic groups in the world researching into computer and communication systems for older and disabled people. He has published widely in this field, including his recent book: “Design and the Digital Divide: insights from 40 years in Computer Support for Older and Disabled People” (Morgan & Claypool 2011). His current interest is the use of professional theatre to raise awareness and facilitate discussion on these issues. In collaboration with a film maker, he has produced a number of awareness raising videos and, with theatre professionals, has presented live theatre at a number of international conferences - including AAATE 2011. He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2000 for contributions to computer-based systems for people with disabilities. In 2011 was presented with the (US) Association for Computing Machinery SIGCHI Social Impact Award, and in 2012 elected a member of the ACM SIGCHI Academy. A former Deputy Principal of the University, Alan is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Association for Computing Machinery and the British Computer Society, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

 

Person Centered Technology
The society we live in is changing rapidly, both in terms of living conditions, economic development and paradigms used. A similar change can be observed in the disability sector. Persons with a disability are not any longer passive receivers of care but rights holders and support systems or services should enable people to fully enjoy their human rights. Social services and other providers must adapt working methods, concepts and approaches to the changed value set.
The fast developing technology should underpin and facilitate these processes of change. Therefore technology should work person / user focused. Only Person Centered Technology (PCT) will have an empowering effect; this means user control, effective and affordable solutions to real needs, high quality standards and availability.
During our intervention the PCT concept will be explored and discussed. Preconditions and key requirements for successful interventions and cooperation will be presented.
Karin Astegger
EASPD
Austria

Brief Speaker's Bio
Karin Astegger is currently responsible for the departments of Human resources and Research & Development at Lebenshilfe Salzburg, Austrian service provider for people with learning disabilities. Representative of the Austrian umbrella Lebenshilfe Austria in EASPD, member of the Board and the Policy Impact Group in EASPD. Member of the national monitoring committee for the Austrian National Action Plan for Disability Issues (strategy for implementing the UN Convention). Co-founder of Inklunova OG for counselling, research and training regarding innovative approaches in the social sector. Masters and PhD in clinical psychology, licensed for clinical practice as psychotherapist, clinical and health psychologist. The first part of her professional career she held a research and teaching position at the University of Salzburg, Austria and worked as psychotherapist. Since 1997 she has been working in the sector of social services. Current focus points of her work: quality of social services, quality of life in service planning and evaluation, local participation planning, UN-Convention and equal rights legislation, inclusive research.

EASPD - European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities

EASPD is the EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF SERVICE PROVIDERS FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES and represents 10.000 social service provider organisations across Europe and across disability. The main objective of EASPD, a non-profit NGO in the disability sector, based on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), is to promote the equalisation of opportunities for people with disabilities through effective and high quality service systems. We believe in interdependence and partnership of user organisations, providers and authorities at all levels to tackle the challenges ahead.
The main objective of EASPD is to promote the equalisation of opportunities for people with disabilities though effective and high quality service systems. This objective is achieved through the work of three pillars:

  • IMPACT - "your voice in Europe" (by monitoring, responding to and influencing the development of European policies)
  • INNOVATION - "your tool to progress" (by developing and participating in action research to improve service provision and inclusion of people with disabilities)
  • INFORMATION - "your gateway to Europe" (by providing members with up to date news on policy changes across Europe, funding possibilities and opportunities to network with members and other related organisations

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Communication Access for All: AAC/AT Practices, Policies, and Technologies
Information and communication technologies (ICT) offer huge economic and political benefits to governments and industry. They also offer unprecedented (but as yet unrealized) options for people with disabilities across the age span. Only a decade ago, those most likely to be ‘carrying’ a communication device were people with "complex communication needs", and they were rarely seen in public. No more. Many individuals today are dripping with devices that enable them to communicate easily and effectively almost anywhere, anytime, and with anyone.

We now live in a global economy with an unprecedented number of communication options available to an unprecedented number of people. Access to information and effective communication is becoming an essential component in human rights legislation. There is a ripening political climate to demand rights for ALL people to access communication--effective, authentic and efficient communication. What role will the AAC/AT community play in this emerging paradigm?

Our community knows how to support people with severe communication disabilities to participate across activities, partners, contexts and environments. We deploy multiple strategies, techniques and preferred and appropriate technologies to solve problems that individuals care about. In addition, some of us are working alongside colleagues outside the disability field to provide communication access for populations we haven’t been serving (e.g., people with second language issues, culture differences, temporary medical conditions, during disasters/emergencies).

This presentation invites participants to think differently about the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Blackstone suggests we need to consider reversing the acronym AAC, and re-name the field, CAA - Communication Access for All. Will we seize opportunities? Rise to the challenges? Can we agree to expand the scope of our practices and policies and do what needs to be done?
Sarah Blackstone
Augmentative Communication Inc.
U.S.A.

Brief Bio
Sarah W. Blackstone Ph.D., CCC-SP is president of Augmentative Communication Inc. in Monterey, CA and a partner emeritus of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Communication Enhancement. She was Chief, Speech-Language Pathology and on the Faculty of Johns Hopkins Medical School in the early 1980s and edited an early textbook on Augmentative and Alternative Communication and developed other early AAC materials published by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. Dr. Blackstone currently co-chairs the Patient-Provider Forum and website [www.patientprovidercommunication.org]. She serves on the Boards of the United States Augmentative and Alternative Communication (USSAAC), the ISAAC Council, the Bridge School, the Central Coast Children’s Foundation and the Community Emergency Response Volunteers of the Monterey Peninsula. She authored Augmentative Communication News for 20 years and is a co-author of Social Networks: A Communication Inventory for Individuals with Complex Communication Needs and their Communication Partners (updated 2012). Dr. Blackstone is a former president of the International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) and an ISAAC Fellow.

 

Fraser Bathgate will present a revolutionary approach to rehabilitation: SCUBA DIVING. He will share the evidence that is being collected over the years regarding the benefits of scuba diving for the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. He will also report on the recent research projects he has been involved regarding rehabilitation through scuba diving.
Fraser Bathgate
Disabled Divers International
U.K.

Brief Bio
Paralyzed from the waist down as a consequence of a climbing accident at the age of 23, Fraser Bathgate became the world's first paraplegic scuba diving instructor of the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) in 1994. Since then he has been constantly deepening his knowledge on diving, for example qualifying as Instructor Course Director for the National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI), as Advanced Diver Medical Technician and as Hyperbaric Chamber Operator. He served as Vice-President and Director of Training of the International Association of Handicapped Divers (IAHD) and as Adaptive Techniques Advisor for PADI International. He has been actively involved in the design and development of several new assistive technology and mainstream products, not only for the diving industry, but also for major wheelchair manufacturers. Fraser Bathgate is also recognized as one of the world's leading consultants on access for disabled people to major outdoor events. In 2001 he became Disabled Liaison Officer for Rock Steady Security, later taken over by G4S. Bathgate also works closely with the Children's Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), particularly Rachel House in Kinross, to make sure that terminally ill children are able to attend outdoor events. In 2007 Bathgate started to work with disabled American veterans introducing them to scuba diving as part of their rehabilitation process. He has now become involved with disabled ex-service people on a long-term basis. A new charity, Deptherapy, has been established to progress the therapy program he has created. In 2009, after thorough examination, Deptherapy received the approval of the US Marine Corps’ top medical officers. In 2010, he founded the Disabled Divers International (DDI), a non-profit organization with the aim to promote, develop and conduct disabled scuba diving training programs for professional and non-professional students, which he presides. In 2003 Bathgate was a finalist in the ‘Great Scot - Unsung Hero’ Awards. He was the recipient of the 2011 DEMA award and was inducted to the DEMA Diving Hall of Fame.

 

Inmaculada Placencia will address the important subject of "Acessibility in Europe" focusing on European policies for persons with disabilities, namely the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020, the implementation of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities at EU level, and the preparation of the European Accessibility Act.
Inmaculada Placencia
European Commission, Directorate General for Justice

Brief Bio
Inmaculada Placencia is Deputy Head of Unit, for Rights of Persons with Disabilities within the Directorate General for Justice. The unit is in charge of the coordination of the European policies for persons with disabilities and responsible for the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the implementation of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities at EU level. She is graduated in Physics and Computer Science and work in RTD activities in industry. Since 1991 she joined the European Commission and worked in several research programmes addressing accessibility and applications for older persons and people with disabilities. The focus of her work in the "e-Inclusion" unit of the Directorate General Information Society and Media as well as in the Integration of people with disabilities unit in Directorate General for European Employment social affairs and equal opportunities addressed policy related activities in the area of accessibility at European and international level, as well as eAccessibility and eInclusion and work related to Design for All and Assistive technologies. She is responsible for the Task Force for the preparation of the European Accessibility Act.

 
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