DREAM Fellow Presenting to NUI Galway Students

On 9 November 2012, I had the pleasure to present my current research topics to the Centre of Disability Law and Policy. I gave a presentation entitled “eAccessibiltiy: Legislation Review and Building the Business Case” where I laid out the underpinnings of two projects I am working on in the midst of PhD programme work.

In order to see the way governments push the state of eAccessibility implementation, this paper aims to set up a review of the eAccessibility legislation framework as it stands via the UNCRPD, EU, Member State (Ireland and Spain) level. The particular ICTs chosen for examination include websites, Self Service Terminals and mobile phone apps.

Building the Business Case involves my plan to interview companies to see how they implement (or not) accessible strategies in their business plans.

The link to the presentation is below:

Symposium on Disability, Technology and Rehabilitation in Low and Middle Income Countries

University of Washington LogoJune 27 & 28, 2013—Seattle, WA, USA

Ensuring the right to full and effective participation and inclusion in society for people with disabilities through the provision of appropriate technology and rehabilitation services. 

Symposium Goals

The primary goal of this symposium is to bring together researchers, clinicians, consumers, consumer led organizations, technology developers and providers, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders who focus on improving and increasing access to technology and rehabilitation products and services with the goal of ensuring full inclusion and participation for people with disabilities in low-resourced comm10unities in low and middle income countries.

Symposium Themes

This symposium supports the purpose of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), that is, “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”  The 50 articles in the CRPD detail the breadth of human rights belonging to people with disabilities. Although the full scope of the CRPD is relevant, in this symposium, we are primarily interested in proposals that address:

  • Article 9—Accessibility
  • Article 19—Living  independently and being included in the community
  • Article 20—Personal mobility
  • Article 25—Health
  • Article 26—Habilitation & rehabilitation

We are also interested in the following as they relate to rehabilitation, assistive technology, and accessible information and communication technologies:

  • Article 24—Education
  • Article 27—Work and employment

Read more about the symposium at their website.

Remove another barrier! – Literature of persons with intellectual disabilities

While spending the next couple of months as study visitor at the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights and enjoying charming Vienna with all of its monumental buildings and lovely Christmas markets, I am trying to make some connections with the local disability movement. However language barriers prevent me from getting easily aware of the important initiatives and projects of NGOs, today I had the chance to attend a really inspiring (and progressive) event: A literature prize award (further information on the ‘Literaturpreis Ohrenschmaus’ is available at: http://ohrenschmaus.net/ ). Why was it that special? The prize was created six years ago for writers with intellectual disabilities who may submit their prose or poems to be reviewed by a prominent jury. This year they received 146 texts and 3000 Euro was awarded to the winners. The ceremonial event attracted a lot of people, both disabled and non-disabled. Friends, families, fans of literature, academics, human rights activists, editors, book publishers etc. Well-known Austrian actors and actresses read some of the pieces before the awards were given to the winners. The whole event was organised in the Ovalhalle of the Museumsquartier, a fancy artistic spot in town, young and sparkling contemporary place.

ImageTonight was a fantastic occasion to experience the so-called paradigm shift articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The big words better get formulated in every day life. When persons with disabilities are not treated as pitiful objects of charities any more, but being equal citizens and holding the same rights as any one else. In my view, our society is very much literacy oriented, therefore ensuring the accessibility for persons with intellectual disabilities is one of the greatest challenges regarding the implementation process of the CRPD. Making our overcomplicated world rather simple and understandable is more difficult than doing some reconstruction or developing handy tools. Some easy-to-read documents do not necessarily help to remove all those barriers. Acknowledging that persons with intellectual disabilities are able to contribute to literature will certainly do. Such an event may narrow the gap between the historically exclusive literary canon and authors who happen to have a disability. Literature as a subjective art should be an open space for everybody to verbalize his or her messages regardless of any disabilities. Talented authors with a disability should be read and respected as others. Or at least be known. I was delighted to get to know some excellent Austrian writers tonight.

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