The ninth annual State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities runs Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 15 and 16, at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel and Conference Center and the Schine Student Center.
Including a first-time parallel Student Leadership Conference, the event will draw more than 300 participants, providing opportunities for colleges and universities, researchers, program staff, parents and self-advocates to learn about the current state of research and practice in the field and to network with each other. Panels include faculty and staff from postsecondary education initiatives, parents, self-advocates and other experts sharing effective practices during breakout sessions with opportunities for group discussion. The student conference will bring high school and college students into the conversation.
For the first time, the conference—hosted by George Mason University’s Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human Disabilities and the Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education at Syracuse University—takes place in Syracuse.
“We have professionals coming from universities and centers all over the world, including Austria, Ireland, Canada, Hawaii and Washington,” says Beth Myers, executive director of the Taishoff Center and Lawrence B. Taishoff Professor of Inclusive Education in the School of Education. “Tracks include academic supports, promoting policy and systemic change, campus life, innovations in higher education, independent living, family and community support, research and evaluation, program development and transition.”
Filmmaker Dan Habib from the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability and Micah Fialka-Feldman ’15, a Taishoff Center staff member, will present the opening keynote, including clips from Habib’s forthcoming documentary “Intelligent Lives.” The film tells the stories of Fialka-Feldman and two other young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs).
“I’m sure they will talk about the construction of intelligence as a marker of success and show how some individuals with IDD are pioneers in inclusion, breaking stereotypes about intellectual disability,” says Myers.
Retired Navy Capt. Robert Taishoff, a Syracuse University Trustee, will speak Wednesday afternoon. He is chairman of the Taishoff Family Foundation, which created the Taishoff Center. It’s named for his grandfather, who made it his priority to aid in research and educating society about Down syndrome.
The State of the Art Conference will have 250 participants; 85 students are expected for the Student Leadership Conference. The latter event is open to all students, with an emphasis on young adults who are transitioning into college and current college students. The focus is on students with intellectual disabilities and their peers, including traditionally enrolled friends, classmates and mentors.
Sessions for the students will cover academic life, social connections, self-advocacy, self-representation and housing, along with a ropes course, yoga and a karaoke party.
“The SLC is a gathering of current and future college students with intellectual disabilities. This is so hugely significant because 30 years ago not only would these students not be attending college, many or most of them would be isolated or institutionalized,” says Cara Levine, a Ph.D. student in counseling and counselor education at the School of Education and coordinator of the student conference. “The conference will provide a space for participants to acquire self-advocacy skills and learn about the college experience from one another while making valuable social connections with peers from across the United States and Canada.”
For more information, visit www.sotaconference.com.
BALTIMORE: The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Auto Alliance) hosted a conference titled “The Promise: Autonomous Vehicles and the Disability Community” on October 25. The event was hosted at NFB’s Jernigan Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.
The event brought together representatives from government, the automotive industry and advocates for persons with disabilities to discuss the advances, challenges, and path forward for autonomous vehicle development.
“Historically, accessibility has been a costly post-purchase vehicle modification for most people with disabilities, and nonexistent for the blind,” said Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind. “The National Federation of the Blind was therefore pleased to co-host this first-of-its-kind gathering of disabled consumers, automotive industry representatives, ride-sharing providers, and policymakers, laying the groundwork for accessibility to be included in the development of promising new vehicle technologies rather than as an afterthought. Discussion between industry and disabled consumers has already had a positive impact on the Senate’s AV START legislation, and our continued work together will pave the way for autonomous vehicles to become tools that will truly enhance independence and opportunity for travelers who are blind and other disabled.”
“Automakers have been developing self-driving technologies for years. We are motivated by the tremendous potential for enhanced safety for everyone and the opportunity to provide greater mobility freedom to people with disabilities and the elderly,” said Mitch Bainwol, President and CEO of the Auto Alliance. “Given the enormity of the social benefits, we are anxious to work with stakeholders and government leaders to develop the policy framework to realize these benefits as soon as we can.”
The conference was a key step in the ongoing conversation about how autonomous vehicles can be developed and deployed safely, while considering the needs of those 57 million Americans with disabilities.
Autonomous vehicles offer disabled Americans opportunities for increased mobility and independence, as well as reliable transportation that could vastly increase employment opportunities.
The National Federation of the Blind and Auto Alliance urge Congress, the Administration, and original equipment manufacturers alike to consider the needs of the disabled as they continue to develop the laws, regulations, and technology that will bring autonomous vehicles to the masses.
The day’s speakers included representatives of the disability community (including the National Association of the Deaf, National Federation of the Blind, Paralyzed Veterans of America, American Association of People with Disabilities, United Spinal Association, American Council of the Blind, and National Down Syndrome Society); the automotive industry (including General Motors, Audi of America, Daimler North America, and Volvo Car Group); government (including representatives from the office of Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., the U.S. Department of Labor, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and other stakeholders (including representatives from Uber and Securing America’s Future Energy).
The 20th annual Accessing Higher Ground Virtual Conference, a live, web-based conference focused on accessible media, web and technology, presented by the Association on Higher Education And Disability (AHEAD), will be held Wednesday-Friday, Nov. 15-17, and the virtual conference will be hosted in two locations on the University campus. Registration is free; please register online by Monday, Nov. 13, for the sessions you plan to attend.
Accessing Higher Ground (AHG) focuses on the implementation and benefits of accessible media, universal design and assistive technology in university, business and public settings. There is a strong focus on universal design, curriculum accessibility and ADA and Section 508 compliance. Other topic areas cover legal and policy issues, video captioning and creating accessible math content. Incorporating accessibility into the procurement process and accessibility evaluations is a particular focus of the event.
Presentation of the main conference on the University campus is jointly sponsored by the Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Resolution Services office, the Center for Faculty Development and Institutional Transformation, the Office of Disability Services, the Disability Cultural Center, Syracuse University Libraries and Information Technology Services (ITS).
This conference is intended for individuals who need to design or provide accessible web, media, information resources and technology in the academic and business environment, including faculty and administrators interested in ADA & Section 508 compliance and faculty and other professionals who wish to ensure that their curriculum is accessible. In the past, audiences have included web designers, assistive technologists, ADA coordinators, human resource personnel, persons with disabilities, disability specialists, faculty, media specialists and programmers interested in accessibility and incorporating universal design into curriculum and information and communications technology.
AHG will stream sessions live from two tracks, all three days of the main conference. To register and see the schedule showing local times visit the conference session listing in answers.syr.edu, For complete information, including session abstracts and schedule (Mountain time zone), visit the virtual conference website.
The 3rd International Conference of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) will be held in Budapest, Hungary from 9 to 11 November 2017.
This follows a successful bid to host the WFD Conference being lodged by the Hungarian Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
It is expected that 1,500 people, including both international and domestic delegates, will attend the WFD Conference which will be held at the Budapest Congress Centre.
The Theme of the Conference will be “Full inclusion with sign language!” Underlying the theme is the belief that full social inclusion of deaf people is possible if sign language is recognised and used widely within society.
WFD President, Mr. Colin Allen, and the SINOSZ President, Dr. Ádám Kósa, Member of the European Parliament, have signed an agreement committing to collaborate in the organisation of the event. Following the signing, Dr. Kósa emphasised that the WFD Conference, which will enjoy significant support by the Hungarian government, highlights recognition by the World Federation of the Deaf of the Hungarian National Association of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the oldest organisation representing the interests of persons with disabilities in Hungary, as it celebrates its 110th birthday, the timing of which will coincide with the WFD Conference. It is acknowledged that Hungary was the first country to sign and ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol in 2007.
Mr Allen noted that WFD as an international organisation, representing 134 member organisations from five continents, organises an international conference every four years with the last conference being held in his home city, Sydney, Australia in 2013 hosted by the Deaf Society of New South Wales.
A key objective of the World Federation of the Deaf is to ensure that members of Deaf Communities in every country have the right to use sign language as their primary language in all walks of life with the result being, the preservation of and development of deaf culture.
JOHANNESBURG: The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has held a two-day conference on the rights of children with disabilities in Johannesburg this week.
The focus is on access to education, as the commission concludes that this basic right has been denied to those children.
In a statement, the SAHRC cites a 2015 Human Rights Watch Report titled, Complicit in Exclusion: South Africa’s Failure to Guarantee Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities; which states that nearly half-a-million children with disabilities were denied access to education while the Department of Basic Education statistics for 2017 indicate that 11,461 children with disabilities were on school admission waiting lists.
The commissioner responsible for children’s rights, Angie Makwetla, says “Children with disabilities and their families constantly experience barriers to the enjoyment of their basic human rights which includes the right to education, right to healthcare and right to family care. This is contrary to the norm stipulated in the Constitution, national legislation as well as regional and international instruments which state that children with disabilities must enjoy equal rights as children without disabilities.”
Through this conference, the SAHRC aims to strengthen relations between itself, non-governmental organizations and government departments in their efforts to educate society on the rights of children living with disabilities, while empowering their parents.
On Wednesday Afrika Tikkun demonstrated outside the conference venue, saying the commission had failed to protect the rights of a 16-year-old child who was allegedly raped by her caregiver in 2013.
The organization says three years after the alleged crime was reported – there is little evidence that the case properly investigated by the human rights commission and other authorities.
The NGO says the case of the girl, who was reportedly later married off to the suspect at the age of 16, is one of many reported incidents of abuse at the centre.
Joined by activist mothers, Afrika Tikkun submitted an appeal on the matter.
General manager at the organisation, Jean Elphick, says: “In July, the commission sent a notice to say that the case would be considered resolved unless appealed. These mothers are really questioning if anyone really cares about justice for children with disabilities. They are also wondering whether there any evidence that the commission is actually fulfilling its mandate.”
The conference ended on Thursday.
Source: Eyewitness News
The Learning Disabilities Association of New Jersey announces its annual conference and resource expo, to be held Saturday, Oct. 21, at Middlesex County College. This year’s keynote address will be titled “Don’t Give Up on That Kid,” by Nelson Lauver, author, blogger, broadcaster, speaker and dyslexic.
Parents, educators, adults, professionals, and students are invited to attend and choose from 25 sessions. Topics include information on the new NJ Dyslexia Handbook, math, writing, basic rights in special education, assistive technology, transition to college and work, and much more. In addition to breakfast and lunch, time will be provided to visit the Resource Expo. LDA members and full time students pay $25 and non-members pay $50 until Oct. 1. New memberships are $75 and include registration. Prices will increase on Oct. 1.
The Centre for Disability Studies and Action (CDSA), School of Social Work of Tata Insitute of Social Sciences (TISS) Mumbai, and Brotherhood, Delhi are organizing jointly an International Conference on Inclusive Education from 22nd to 24th January 2018 at TISS, Mumbai.
The conference will provide an opportunity to share and disseminate ideas, research findings, academic, field-level experiences on Inclusive Education, evidence bases practices and innovation in inclusive education from India and other countries and create a sharing community to feel all children safe and secure in the classroom.
“Inclusive education is about how we develop and design our schools, classrooms, programs and activities so that all students learn and participate together. For a school to be inclusive, all children, regardless of their ability level have to be included in a mainstream classroom, or least restrictive environment (LRE), so that students of all ability levels are taught as equals, and that teachers adjust their curriculum and teaching methodologies for all students to benefit. Implementation of an inclusive education would require a number of changes in present day teaching practices, curriculum content, infrastructure, technological aids, evaluation procedures and available resources at the school level,” stated the concept note of the conference.
Themes of the conference are: policy on inclusive education; role of school management committee; inclusive curriculum; class room management and practice; school environment; examination, assessment and evaluation; voices of children with disabilities and their parents regarding inclusive education; ICT; assistive technology and assistive devices for facilitating curriculum transaction; infrastructure; universal design learning.
The 33rd Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity will be held on October 9-11, 2017 at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort & the Modern Honolulu.
The theme for the 33rd Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity: “SustainAbility”.
The Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability & Diversity has been widely recognized over the past 27 years as one of the most “diverse gatherings” in the world.
To register for the 2017 Rim Conference, visit www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/registration
NEW DELHI: Co-partnered by Brotherhood Delhi and Centre for Disability Studies and Action (CDSA); School of Social Work of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; and The Cradle, New Delhi; the conference is based on the premise that ‘all students can learn together in regular schools’.
According to the organisers of the conference, children with disabilities must be afforded equal opportunity for education in schools. And, the schools are required to be ‘meet educational needs of all students irrespective of their social, economic, ethnic, linguistic and religious background. It implies that schools will have to meet the challenges responding to diverse educational needs of students’ since ‘every learner matters and matters equally’.
“Equal education opportunity envisages barrier-free access and participation in school activities. Besides physical access, equal education opportunity for access to curriculum is ensured for all learners. Curriculum and associated assessment are directed to success of all students according to their potential,” states the concept note of the conference.
The themes of the conference are: Role of School Management Committee and Leadership; Admission Policy; Curriculum and Assessment; Classroom Management; Classroom Practices; Instructional Practices; School Environment; Teacher Development; ICT; Assistive Technology and Assistive Devices for facilitating curriculum transactions.
The conference besides discussing the research papers on the theme of the conference, key notes and panels will also discuss the quality Indicators have been classified into sixteen areas such as . School Management Committee (SMC); leadership; role of the SMC defined in the school manual; school environment; responsibility and authority; admission policy; collaborative planning meeting; inclusive curriculum; instructional practices; assessment and evaluation; individual student supports; parents and family support; staff development; health and safety; medical facilities; and canteen.
The concept note also reminds that the government policies have evolved to be responsive to inclusive education. Since 1990s, the seeds could be traced to the National Policy of Education (NPE) and Programme of Action 1986 and 1992 supported by Salamanca Declaration 1994. The Right to Education Act 2009 and the Rights of Persons with Disability Act 2016 (RPD Act) further reinforced the government policy. The policy is based on the expectation that children who learn together learn to live together.
KUMASHI, GHANA: A two-day international conference to identify effective ways to mainstream disability issues into the nation’s development agenda has opened in Kumasi.
Hosted by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), it is discussing a wide range of issues – barriers to employment, healthcare, access to criminal justice, and educational opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Practicing inclusive early childhood development, disability and leadership, access to assistive technology for persons with disabilities and inclusion of disability studies as a course in educational institutions are also on the table.
The meeting is being held under the theme “Disability and inclusion in Africa – the role of assistive technology”, and supported jointly by the African Network for Evidence-to-Action in Disability (AfriNEAD) and Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Ghana, the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Switzerland, Norway, Ireland, Belgium, Nigeria, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, Zambia, Namibia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Cameroon and Botswana are participating.
Professor Gubela Mji, President of AfriNEAD, expressed concern about what she said was the seeming reluctance of most of the countries to recognize and implement the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (CRPD).
“Our governments are not so much enthused about advancing the cause of persons with disabilities, and this is a worry given the fact that, substantial number of the African population had one form of disability or the other”, she added.
She spoke of the determination of her organization to create the needed platform and work together with government agencies, universities, rights-based and civil society organizations to uphold policies and programmes calibrated to positively impact the lives persons with disabilities.
Prof Mji said everything should be done to eliminate all forms of discrimination, stereotypes and prejudices that inhibited the development of those with disability.
It is estimated that about 10 per cent of Africa’s population is disabled, and the factors contributing to this include accidents, violence, birth defects, diseases and ageing.
Ms. Otiko Afisa Djaba, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, said the government had begun the process to implement the Ghana Standards Accessibility Designs policy.
This, she said, would compel owners of all public buildings to work towards making their facilities disability-friendly.
Plans were also far advanced to amend the Disability Act to bring it in tune with the UN-CRPD to efficiently promote the welfare and development of people with disability.
Prof Kwasi Obiri Danso, Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, in a speech read for him, said a recent study by the College of Health Science showed that many persons with disabilities had little knowledge of their rights.
This, he noted, was making it difficult for them to demand equal opportunities in education, employment and healthcare, among other things.
It was against this background that the conference was important and a right step, he added.