Assistive technology — whether it’s a mobile app or a modified wheelchair — can transform the lives of people with disabilities. The latest in the field of assistive technology will be on display next month in Anaheim at the world’s largest gathering of people who develop or use assistive technology.
California State University, Northridge’s 37th annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference — internationally recognized as the premier event in the field of technology and people with disabilities — is scheduled to take place March 14-18 at the Anaheim Marriott. The event will feature researchers, practitioners, educators, exhibitors, end-users and more, who are coming together to share knowledge, new innovations and best practices to promote inclusion for all.
The conference explores all aspects of assistive technology, starting with pre-conference workshops followed by more than 250 educational sessions and a free Exhibit Hall opening on Wednesday, March 16.
“Our motivation for hosting the conference continues to be to provide an environment where leaders in the field, who are committed to driving innovation in assistive technology can network and interact with each other and get input from people with disabilities,” said Sandy Plotin, managing director of CSUN’s Center on Disabilities, which puts on the event each year.
“We are looking forward to seeing everyone again, as we return to the Anaheim Marriott for the first time since 2020.”
When the 2021 virtual CSUN conference concluded, officials with at the Center on Disabilities surveyed conference stakeholders about what they could do to improve the conference experience, Plotin said.
Based on the feedback, she said there will be some “exciting new changes,” most notably, the conference now starts on Tuesday morning with a keynote address program to kick off the event. Additionally, there will be daily featured presentations that will be live-streamed and available for viewing on the conference website. Each evening, the organizers have planned special social activities to augment the community’s return to an in-person event.
“We have been planning the upcoming in-person conference with health and safety as our top priority. We are taking all measures to ensure a safe event for all,” Plotin said. “With guidance from the California State University system, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and health agencies, there are vaccination and mask requirements, health screenings, and sanitization protocols in place. Guidelines are constantly being updated as the situation evolves.”
The keynote address is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, March 15, at 8 a.m. and will be live-streamed. This year’s speaker is Mike Paciello, a pioneer in the accessibility industry. He will talk about the digital age, human interaction and the critical keys needed to ensure optimal user experience for people with disabilities.
Each year at the conference, the Center on Disabilities recognizes a leader who has demonstrated a commitment to influence change and significantly impact the field with the Strache Leadership Award. This year’s recipient is Jodi L. Johnson, who has not only provided support for students with disabilities on the CSUN campus for over 35 years, but was also instrumental in the conference’s original successes.
“Her leadership and dedication to providing accessibility for students demonstrate that she is truly a worthy recipient,” Plotin said.
In conjunction with the publication of the center’s 10th edition of the Journal on Technology and Persons with Disabilities this spring, the Dr. Arthur I. Karshmer Award for Assistive Technology Research will be presented to Scott Lambert, representing the authors of the paper, “A Tangible Manipulative for Inclusive Quadrilateral Learning.”
The Strache Leadership Award and the Dr. Arthur I. Karshmer Award will be presented at the keynote address.
The conference’s exhibit hall is free and open to the public. This year’s exhibit hall will include demonstrations of the latest technologies for people with disabilities and the opportunity for end-users and practitioners to interact with the providers of assistive technology products and services.
For information on the 2022 CSUN Conference and Exhibit Hall, visit the conference website.