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Thursday, September 29 • 9:00am - 5:00pm
(REF 22112) Using Assistive Technology to Promote Social Inclusion for People with Disability through Collaboration and Partnership between Africa, America, Asia and Europe

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Date: September 29, 2022
Time: 9:00AM-5:00PM
Host: Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations
In-person Address: 885 Second Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10017
Virtual Zoom Address: https://msu.zoom.us/j/91934148834

Using Assistive Technology to Promote Social Inclusion for People with Disability through Collaboration and Partnership between Africa, America, Asia and Europe

One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience forms of disabilities. Among those, one-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities. Disability prevalence is even higher in developing countries and those with disabilities are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes such as less education, poorer health and employment outcomes, and higher poverty rates.

The European Commission’s European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 identified social exclusion as one of the grand challenges that people with disabilities in Europe are facing. People with disabilities are the most disadvantaged in society exacerbating many inequity issues. For instance, people with disabilities may have limited access to basic education, which can largely reduce their chances to obtain meaningful and gainful employment as adults. Globally, the employment rates of people with disabilities are significantly lower than their peers without disabilities. In addition to the socio-economic implications, social exclusion impacts negatively on self-esteem, mental health and quality of life. Thus, social inclusion is an important element of well-being for people with disabilities and a key component of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Research has highlighted that social inclusion can be promoted through access to education and employment.

Research has also demonstrated that assistive technology (AT) can be a meaningful way to improve access to education, employment, independence and community participation among people with disabilities. AT, include both high-end and low-end devices, equipment and systems, apps and other products. While AT can be useful in improving the life of people with disabilities, the World Health Organization have identified that only 10% of the population in need of AT products have access to them.

While AT provision varies across countries, the intent to support people with disabilities should be a global priority with a focus on removing barriers and providing facilitators to independent living, community participation, and transition from education to employment settings. The rapid pace of technological advancement can leave behind the most vulnerable in society especially those with disabilities. There are low rates of AT adoption by service providers, educators, employers and policymakers as well as high rates of AT abandonment. Building global capacity for AT provision and applications will provide a unique opportunity to support independence and inclusion for people with disabilities through the use of AT.

In collaboration with different stakeholders, we will highlight the critical role of partnerships across different continents, including Africa, America, Asia and Europe in increasing social inclusion and improving lives for people with disabilities. Through a series of presentations, representatives from various continents and countries will discuss the challenges faced by people with disabilities in accessing education and employment and how this leads to social exclusion. We will discuss the importance of AT in bridging the gap between social exclusion and inclusion. We will discuss the importance of a science-based approach as research findings will be presented that will demonstrate how evidence-based educational and employment programs can improve inclusion for people with disability worldwide. We will also discuss an EU COST Action (CA19104), entitled, Advancing Social Inclusion through Technology and Empowerment (a-STEP) which is an interdisciplinary, intersectoral pan EU network of researchers, service providers and people with disability. a-STEP seeks to improve access to education and employment for people with disability through AT.

9:00-10:00am: Keynote Speaker
  • Marcia J. Scherer, Founding President, Institute for Matching Person & Technology | Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Rochester Medical Center

10:00-10:20am: Break

10:20-10:50am: Social Inclusion in Education Setting for Individuals with Disabilities
Geraldine Leader, Associate Professor, University of Galway | Director, Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research

11:00-12:30pm: Panel of 3-4 presentations on topic around social inclusion in education setting (20-30 mins per presentation) – Presenters include representatives from US, Europe, Africa, Asia – a combination of researchers, practitioners, policymakers
  • African rep: Binta Koita, Representative of Université des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako; Ambumulire N. Itimu Phiri, Acting Chief Executive Officer for the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) in Malawi
  • American rep: Sheryl Burgstahler, Founder and Director, DO-IT Center and UW Access Technology Center
  • Asian rep: Cynthia Lai, Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  • European rep: Rahma Sophia Rachdi, Correspondent- Head of Bureau, United States Press Agency

12:30-2:00pm: Roundtable discussion over lunch

2:00-2:30pm: Social Inclusion in Employment Setting for Individuals with Disabilities
Connie Sung, Associate Professor, Michigan State University | Co-Director, MSU Center for Services, Research and Training for Independence and Desired Employment

2:40-4:10pm: Panel of 3-4 presentations on topic around social inclusion in employment setting (20-30 mins per presentation) – Presenters include representatives from US, Europe, Africa, Asia – a combination of researchers, practitioners, policymakers
  • African rep: Christiana Okyere, Senior Research Associate, McMaster University; Boitumelo Mangope, Senior Lecturer, University of Botswana
  • American rep: Jo Sinha, CEO, Peckham, Inc; Laurie Penfold, Customer Service Representative, Peckham, Inc.
  • Asian rep: June Chen, Associate Professor, Deputy Director of Department, East China Normal University
  • European rep: Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf, Head of Sector Assistive Technology of AIAS Bologna, SG of AAATE and GAATO

4:10-4:30pm: Closing remark

For questions, please contact Administrative Assistant, Shannon Aydukovic, via email (aydukov3@msu.edu) or phone (+1-517-432-9101).

Moderator
avatar for Sung, Connie

Sung, Connie

Associate Professor, Michigan State University
Dr. Connie Sung is an Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Counselling, director of the master’s program in Rehabilitation Counseling, and director of MSU-DOCTRID Hegarty Fellows Postdoctoral Program at Michigan State University. She is also a certified rehabilitation counsellor... Read More →
avatar for Geraldine Leader

Geraldine Leader

Senior Lecturer, University of Galway, Ireland
Dr. Geraldine Leader is a graduate of University College Cork where she obtained her B.A. (Hons) and Ph.D. in Psychology. Geraldine is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at University of Galway. Geraldine’s research interests lie in area of autism spectrum conditions... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler

Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler

Founder and Director, Director, Accessible Technology Services and DO-IT Center
Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler is an Affiliate Professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is the founder and director of the DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) and the Access Technology Centers at the University... Read More →
avatar for June Chen

June Chen

Associate Professor, East China Normal University
Dr. June Chen is an associate professor and the deputy director of the Department of Special Education at East China Normal University (ECNU).  Her primary research focusses on career education, transition program and employment readiness for students with disabilities, especially... Read More →
avatar for Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf

Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf

Secretary-General, Global Alliance of Assistive Technology Organizations (GAATO) and Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE)
Mr. Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf is head of the Assistive Technology Department of AIAS Bologna onlus, a non-for-profit NGO in Italy. The organisation staffs the Regional Centre for Assistive Technology of Emilia-Romagna, a resource centre for citizens with disabilities and funded with public... Read More →
avatar for Binta Koita

Binta Koita

Lecturer, ULSHB
Dr. Binta Koita is a lecturer at the University of Letters and Humanities of Bamako. She holds a master's degree in communication studies from the University of Caddy Ayad of Marrakech and a PHD in Applied linguistics. Binta’s research interests include education, and he has already... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Cynthia Lai

Dr. Cynthia Lai

Associate Professor, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Dr. Cynthia Lai is an Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Sciences at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She is the Coordinator of the Postgraduate Scheme of Rehabilitation Sciences. She is also committee member of Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority to review special... Read More →
avatar for Boitumelo Mangope

Boitumelo Mangope

Senior Lecturer, University of Botswana
Dr. Boitumelo Mangope is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Educational Foundations. She is also a trained special/inclusive education specialist and has over 15 years of experience regarding special/inclusive education for students with IDD with specific interest in the attitudes... Read More →
avatar for Christiana Okyere

Christiana Okyere

Senior Research Associate, McMaster University
Dr. Christiana Okyere is a Senior Research Associate at the McMaster University, Canada. Dr. Okyere’s research interests focus on inclusion for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families. She achieves this by studying inclusive education and... Read More →
avatar for Laurie Penfold

Laurie Penfold

Customer Service Representative, Peckham, Inc
Laurie Penfold has served as a Customer Service Representative in Peckham’s Contact Center Solutions social enterprise for the past seven years. As a CSR, Laurie manages and assists customers with calls in one of Peckham’s federal inbound call centers. After becoming blind later... Read More →
avatar for Ambumulire Phiri

Ambumulire Phiri

acting chief executive officer, national council for higher education
Dr. Ambumulire N. Phiri is the Acting Chief Executive Officer for the National Council for Higher Education in Malawi. She received her PhD in Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.    Dr Phiri has served the public higher education system in Malawi for over 19 years... Read More →
avatar for Gerard Quinn

Gerard Quinn

UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities
Mr. Gerard Quinn was appointed the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities by the Human Rights Council at its 45th session, in October 2020. Mr. Quinn holds two research chairs at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute on Human Rights in the University of Lund (Sweden... Read More →
avatar for rahma rachdi

rahma rachdi

Correspondent- Head of Bureau, United States Press Agency
Dr. Rahma Sophia Rachdi is a Journalist in Politics, disabled in wheelchair and Head of the Correspondence, based in Paris, for the United States Press Agency. She is renowned for have released many scientific publications and journalistic articles and reports, for different media... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Marcia Scherer

Dr. Marcia Scherer

Founding President, Institute for Matching Person & Technology
Marcia J. Scherer is a rehabilitation psychologist and founding President of the Institute for Matching Person & Technology. She is also Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Rochester Medical Center where she received both her Ph.D. and MPH degrees.  She... Read More →
avatar for Jo Sinha

Jo Sinha

CEO, Peckham, Inc
Jo Sinha is the President and CEO of Peckham, a vocational rehabilitation organization that provides paid job training opportunities for people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. With more than 3,000 employees, 11 locations, five social enterprises and more than 25... Read More →



Thursday September 29, 2022 9:00am - 5:00pm EDT
Permanent Mission of Ireland to the United Nations & Video Conference 885 Second Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, NY 10017
  Disability, Collaboration