CSUN Conference Goes Strong in its 29th Year

  • Attendees of CSUN conference peruse vendor offers

    The CSUN Conference, hosted in San Diego from March 17 to 22, offered companies with technological supplements for people with disabilities and users to meet, discuss and explore the potential of the latest developments. Highlighted this year were gadgets and programs most helpful to people with auditory, reading and writing disabilities. Photo by Wayne Fernandes.

The 29th Annual International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference, or CSUN Conference, took over San Diego March 17 through the 22. The yearly event provides an inclusive setting for researchers, practitioners, exhibitors, end users, speakers and other participants to share knowledge and best practices in the field of assistive technology. This amount of widespread participation makes the conference the largest of its kind.

Every year, participants from around the world — including celebrities like musician Stevie Wonder — attend the event to hear outstanding speakers and learn about  cutting-edge technology that can change their world. This year’s exhibit hall featured products from more than 150 companies catering to those with hearing, reading and writing disabilities.

President Dianne F. Harrison with musician Stevie Wonder

President Dianne F. Harrison (second from left) and legendary musician Stevie Wonder (center) tested the latest in tech wear from Google, one of the CSUN Conference vendors. Photo by Wayne Fernandes.

“[The conference] included many exciting events this year,” said Julia Santiago, assistant director of CSUN’s Center on Disabilities. “Tommy Edison kicked off the conference with a fantastic keynote address; we had many new exhibitors, over 300 sessions and more attendees than any previous year.”

Edison is better known as “The Blind Film Critic.” Blind since birth, he produces online videos that reveal a glimpse into his life and the funny challenges he faces daily.

“I watch movies and pay attention to them in a different way than sighted people do,” said Edison. “I’m not distracted by all the beautiful shots and attractive people. I watch a movie for the writing and acting.”
Santiago also said a record number attended this year’s conference. She expects even higher numbers next year as the conference celebrates a milestone of 30 years.

“All in all, it was a fantastic year,” Santiago said, “and now planning begins on what is expected to be a huge celebration for our 30th anniversary for the 2015 conference.”