Virtual World Conference Affirms Rights to Community Access
The third annual International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference will be held Friday September 27th and Saturday September 28th 2013, in Second Life®. The theme of this year’s conference is “Let Me In.”
Join the Conference via live streaming on the web here!
A person with a disability or chronic health condition may not have access to all the facilities, resources, and communities that persons without these conditions have. A person with a mobility disability may be stymied by a flight of stairs leading to a public building, by public transportation their wheelchair won’t go into, or even by the tall threshold of a shop.
A person with a visual impairment may be unable to benefit from daily newspapers or printed textbooks. A Deaf person may not be able to communicate on the phone, or receive information on radio announcements or at public lectures. Persons with developmental or intellectual disabilities may have difficulty understanding public policies or getting appropriate health care.
Persons with all types of disabilities can be fully functioning community members, given appropriate accessibility accommodations when needed. However, despite increasing legal protections ensuring access and community participation, significant barriers to equal access for persons with disabilities still exist.
The 2013 International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference will examine different perspectives about access that are of interest to persons with disabilities. Panels of citizens from around the world will provide background as conference participants explore both policy and implementation aspects of providing full accessibility.
Conference sessions include:
- (Friday Keynote) Dr. Leticia De León, Associate Professor at the University of Texas – Pan American in Edinburg, TX (US), will explain how children with disabilities can be allowed access to play opportunities that aid their development.
- (Saturday Keynote) Dr. John Stone, Director of the Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE) at the State University of New York at Buffalo (US), will share information from the World Report on Disability.
- Dr. Sarah Rule is Managing Director at CREATE (South Africa). She will describe how training Community-Based Rehabilitation personnel contributes to the empowerment of persons with disabilities.
- Vulcan Viper (the Netherlands) worked for an organization auditing the accessibility of public areas and buildings. He shares a new approach to facilities accessibility.
- Vicki Robinson, National Technical Institute for the Deaf (US), teaches Deaf students physics using virtual world resources.
- Jennifer Sarrett, Emory University, Atlanta, GA (US), shares information about neurodiversity (autism spectrum disorders) in India.
- Teresa Goddard, senior consultant on the Motor/Sensory Team at the Job Accommodation Network (US), explains employment accommodations that involve service animals.
- Dr. Wisdom Mprah is a teacher at the Senior High Technical School for the Deaf (Ghana). He will discuss issues related to health literacy (particularly about HIV/AIDS) among the Deaf community in his country.
- Christel Schneider is the managing director of CSiTrain (Germany). She will explain the use of European Language Portfolios to aid persons who are blind, deaf, or have other learning differences in learning foreign languages.
- Dr. Margaret Stineman, a member of the Institute of Medicine (US), will discuss Empowerment Medicine, the philosophy that medical and health knowledge belongs to the person seeking assistance, from her perspective as a researcher and medical doctor.
- Mike Rose, the Emergency Preparedness Specialist for the Public Health Division of the New Mexico Department of Health (US), will talk about how persons with disabilities and their caregivers can be included in emergency preparedness, both personally and in their communities.
- Dr. Nina Slota, researcher at Northern State University, Aberdeen, SD (US), will explain her research on gender, community, and collaboration among women with chronic pain. Dr. Stephanie Jenkins is an assistant professor in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at Oregon State University. She will co-present with Dr. Slota.
All sessions will take place at The Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island within Second Life®.
The full schedule of confirmed presenters is posted on the Virtual Ability Website.
Alice Krueger, president of Virtual Ability, Inc., stated: “For persons with disabilities, access to information is critical. We must be included in research about the world, and our needs must be considered in policy development. We also should have access to buildings, transportation, and all the other resources used by persons who do not have disabilities. Having access to the full function of communities in which we engage is equally important. “Let me in” is a logical follow-up to last year’s IDRAC conference which focused on communities people with disabilities belong to.”