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Thursday, June 17 • 5:00pm - 7:00pm
Using Assistive Technology to Promote Inclusion for People with Disability through Collaboration and Partnership between Europe, Africa, and the United States

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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 for developing countries and those with disabilities are more likely to experience adverse socio-economic outcomes such as less education, poorer health and employment outcomes, and higher poverty rates.
The European Commission’s European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 had 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 is 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 and independence 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 and through the voices of researchers, practitioner, individuals with disabilities, and caregivers, we will highlight the critical role of partnerships between Europe, US and Africa in increasing inclusion and improving lives for people with disabilities. Using an international project, we will describe the challenges faced by inclusive education programs for transition-age students with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Botswana and Ghana. We will also share innovative strategies in improving the situations by capacity building as well as guidelines and program development. Finally, we will discuss the importance of promoting interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaborations between all stakeholders and placing the person with disability at the centre of the program and resources development, deployment and dissemination.

avatar for Geraldine Leader

Geraldine Leader

Senior Lecturer at the School of Psychology & Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research, NUIG
Dr. Geraldine Leader is a Behavioural Psychologist and is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). With over 90 peer-reviewed publication, Geraldine’s research interests lie in the areas of Autism Spectrum Disorder... Read More →
avatar for Nigel Newbutt

Nigel Newbutt

Researcher in the Department of Education, UWE, Bristol
Dr. Newbutt is a researcher in the Department of Education at UWE, Bristol. His work has involved the design, development and application of digital technologies for, and with, autistic groups. His recent research has involved the evaluation of virtual reality head-mounted displays... Read More →
avatar for Dr. Connie Sung

Dr. Connie Sung

Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling, Michigan State University
Dr. Connie Sung is an Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling at Michigan State University. She founded the STEP (Supporting Transition and Employment Preparation) Lab and is also a co-director of a school-to-work transition program (namely Spartan Project SEARCH) and MSU-DOCTRID... Read More →
avatar for Boitumelo Mangope

Boitumelo Mangope

Senior Lecturer at the Department of Educational Foundations, 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

MSU-DOCTRID Hegarty Fellow in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education, Michigan State University
Dr. Christiana Okyere is an MSU-DOCTRID Hegarty Fellow in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education at Michigan State University. Dr. Okyere’s research interests focus on inclusion for youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD... Read More →
avatar for Malebogo “Max” Molefhe

Malebogo “Max” Molefhe

Violence and Disability Rights Activist, Malebogo-Max Foundation Trust
Malebogo is a  renowned multiple award winning Gender Based Violence and Disability Rights Activist, a public speaker, and a former Botswana National basketball player. In 2009, Malebogo was shot eight times in an act of intimate partner violence that left her confined to a wheelchair... Read More →


Chairperson, Down syndrome Association of Botswana (DSAB)
Marina Seanokeng Ngwako is a mother to a 27 year old Down syndrome man. She is a retired Electrician, having worked for Botswana Power Corporation for 31 years. She is currently a Chairperson for the Down syndrome Association of Botswana (DSAB), and the Vice Chairperson of Africa... Read More →
avatar for Nicholas T Moswaane

Nicholas T Moswaane

Specialist Teacher, Mokgosi Special Unit in Ramotswa - Botswana
Mr Nicholas T Moswaane is a specialist teacher at Mokgosi Special Unit in Ramotswa - Botswana. He is a degree holder in Special Education and specialized in learners with Intellectual disability (I.D) for the past 19 years. He received his training for both Diploma and Degree in the... Read More →
avatar for Montisetsi Chain Popo

Montisetsi Chain Popo

Special Educator, Bothakga Primary School Special Unit
Mr. Montisetsi Chain Popo is a special educator at Bothakga Primary School Special Unit (an inclusive set up) situated in Lobatse Southern part of Botswana. He is a University of Botswana Bed Special Education graduate specialized in learners who are intellectually challenged. I have... Read More →
avatar for Neil Milliken

Neil Milliken

Global Head of Accessibility, Atos
Neil Milliken is Global Head of Accessibility at Atos, an invited expert for the W3C Cognitive Accessibility Taskforce , member of the Atos Scientific Community & Atos Distinguished Expert .He is co-founder of AXSChat Europe’s largest twitter chat with a focus on Accessibi... Read More →

Thursday June 17, 2021 5:00pm - 7:00pm CEST