Technology empowers persons with disabilities

Asia-Pacific, April 9 2013

AHMEDABAD, INDIA: The ever-expanding technology that has touched thousands of lives has also helped persons with disabilities to keep pace with the world. However, equally important is the social attitude towards them and educational opportunities for them, opined the experts at a three-day conference in the city.

Blind People’s Association (BPA) and Sense International have jointly hosted the Asian Conference for Blindness and Deaf-blindness which began from Friday. More than 350 delegates from Asian, European and American countries participated in the event.

Organizers said that the objective of the conference is to sensitize educators, professionals, parents and people with vision disabilities to the advancements in the field related to technology and learning strategy.

Kevin Carey, president of Royal National Institute of Blind People of UK, told that situation of education for people who are blind is pathetic world over.

“It is not developing country specific issue. We still employ the same old pedagogical tools in the age of smart phones and tablets. I believe that the technology is game changer as far as empowering people who are blind is concerned. I have seen that children with vision disabilities respond very fast to the gadgets,” he said.

Indian experience is not very different. P K Pincha, chief commissioner for implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act, said that technology does make difference.

“The tools, however, should be available, acceptable, adaptable and affordable. I recently came across an application that turns the text on internet into Braille script on a surface like a digital book. Such technology should penetrate to the interiors of the country,” he said.

At the conference, various government and social welfare organizations’ representatives stressed on the need to use mobile phones and various applications optimally because of the high penetration of the phones in India and abroad for education and empowerment purposes.The event will provide a platform to the educators and social leaders to exchange ideas that can be implemented to bring change in the lives of persons with disabilities. We slowly see social change where the disability is not considered a curse

Bhushan Punani, executive director, BPA “Early detection of the disability in children can provide the teachers with the scope to imbibe habits into the students. Various schools across the world are slowly rising to the challenge of including different students into mainstream and providing them much-needed support.”

Source: The Times of India

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