Greetings from the Center on Disabilities at California State University, Northridge!

The latest 2014 Conference Newsletter is packed with announcements, reminders, and exciting information that highlights the action you’ll find at this year’s event.

New for 2014-Recorded Highlights

We are excited to announce that we will be offering a conference video following this year’s event.  The “Best of 2014 CSUN” will include a selection of general session and featured presentations, on-site interviews, the Keynote Address and other conference highlights.  The conference schedule will be updated to reflect the selections being recorded and signage will be posted on-site at these rooms.  We thank you in advance for your cooperation when attending these sessions. Stay tuned for more details as we roll out this new conference experience.

A policy reminder for the presentation rooms:  Unauthorized recordings of any nature are strictly prohibited and cell phones and mobile devices should be turned off or silenced in consideration of others.

Conference Meeting Rooms

As we’ve previously informed you, the hotel has changed the names of all of the meeting rooms but we will have our trusty “Red Shirt” staff teams on-site to assist you in finding the locations for the sessions and events you want to attend.

Registration & Check-In

The Conference Registration Area is located in the Harbor Ballroom Foyer on the 2nd floor. Self-service check-in is as easy as 1-2-3.  Just enter the email address and password you used when you registered and we’ll print out your name badge and give you your tote bag so you can begin your conference experience.  Plan early and register now for the conference.  Don’t forget to visit the Literature Distribution Kiosk in the registration area for news from sponsors and exhibitors; a second Kiosk will be in the Exhibit Hall.

Exhibit Hall Only Registration is also open at Exhibit Hall Pass. For fast and seamless entry into the Exhibit Hall, we encourage you to pre-register, especially if you are a group of more than five.

Pre-Conference Workshops

We encourage you to check-out the selection of Pre-Conference Workshops offered this year, so that you can come early and learn more!  Several of these are almost at their maximum attendance so please register as soon as possible.  Remember that CEU’s are available for all Pre-Conference Workshops!

Keynote Address & Welcome Reception

Please be sure to join us in the Harbor Ballroom on Tuesday evening, March 18 at 5:30 pm for the official opening of the 2014 Conference, hosted by Conference Chair, Dr. Caren Sax. Our Keynote Address this year will be delivered by Tommy Edison, the Blind Film Critic.  We are very excited to have Mr. Edison who has been blind since birth and produces online videos that reveal a glimpse into his daily life, along with the funny challenges he faces.  Mr. Edison has been a radio professional for nearly 25 years, having spent the last 19 as a traffic reporter!  The “Tommy Edison Experience” featuring his unique perspective, humor and entertaining demeanor is sure to kick-off the 2014 Conference in a fascinating way.

The Fred Strache Leadership Award presentation to Dr. David H. Rose will follow the keynote address and then special announcements and conference highlights will be provided by Dr. Sax to kick off your busy conference week.

Exhibitor News

Mark your calendars for the Opening of the 2014 Exhibit Hall.  Our tradition continues as the Exhibit Hall opens early on Wednesday, March 29 at 12 pm and closes at 7:00 pm. Thursday and Friday hours are 9:30 am – 5:30 pm.  Please be sure to make time to visit our exhibitors in the Grand Hall during these days and times.  As always, the Exhibit Halls are free and open to the public.

Featured Presentations on Thursday, March 20 – Harbor Ballroom C

12:00 pm

Kathleen Martinez, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy

Please join us when Kathleen Martinez will host a presentation on the U.S. Department of Labor's efforts to promote the development and adoption of accessible workplace technology by America's technology providers and employers.  During this featured presentation, Ms. Martinez will update attendees on the agency’s efforts related to new rules under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act and their potential impact on accessible online job applications and other workplace technologies.  She will also explore new online tools from ODEP’s Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT), as well as recent collaborations with other federal agencies to ensure the accessibility of social media. 


4:20 pm

Copyrights and Third Party Captioning: Challenges and Solutions

Moderator:  Axel Leblois, President & Executive Director, Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict)



  • Harris Cohen, Associate Product Counsel, Google/You Tube
  • Blake E. Reid, Assistant Professor, Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic, Colorado Law
  • Mark Richert, Esq., Director, Public Policy, American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
  • Andrew S. Phillips, Esq., Policy Counsel, Law & Advocacy Center, National Association of the Deaf (NAD)


The proliferation of inaccessible video contents of the Internet creates the need for third party captioning via automated or human processes, including via crowd sourced solutions.  However, while those solutions provide the required accessibility to videos for deaf persons or those living with hearing loss, they can infringe on the copyrights of the owners of audio-visual contents, creating a conflict between disability and copyright laws.  After conducting an in depth research on this topic with legal experts, industry and disability advocates, G3ict will publicly release at CSUN 2014 the report which will serve as the foundation for a global dialogue on solutions that could be adopted in the U.S. and internationally to solve those issues.   The presentation will include perspectives from stakeholders.  Audience participation (questions and answers) will be welcomed if time permits.

2014 Conference Sponsors

It goes without saying…but we never get tired of saying it…thank you to all of our valuable Conference Sponsors!  Many of the services and events at the conference are provided through the commitments of:


  • IBM



Here’s a peek at some of the special events and activities the Sponsors have planned for you at this year’s conference:


Amazon Kindle invites you to “Play with Kindle Fire”.  Come by the Cortez Hill A session room anytime between 8 am-5 pm on Thursday on March 20 to get hands-on with the all-new Kindle Fire tablets.  Representatives from the Kindle Accessibility team will on hand to listen to your feedback and answer questions about Kindle Fire’s new and improved accessibility tools.  Short demonstrations will be given throughout the day and start times correspond with conference general sessions.


Canon will once again be sponsoring our “Print on Demand” stations at the Registration Area in a joint effort to “go green”.  A limited number of supporting materials (Quick Guide, Exhibit Guide and Session Guide) will be printed prior to the conference.  Participants may elect to print any of the guides they wish to have and we hope you help us support this endeavor


Get a Glimpse of the Smart Home for Everyone at CSUN 2014! 

In your living room, in your office or on the go, Comcast’s products and services keep you entertained, connected, productive and secure. With your input, Comcast Accessibility is working hard to enable all of our customers to easily access and fully experience our range of products.

Join us for an evening of cocktails, light fare and demos of the latest accessible Comcast products on Wednesday, March 19 at 6:00 PM in Harbor Ballroom C.  Experience Comcast entertainment and communications products, discover our improved self-help and customer support resources and learn about career opportunities at Comcast-NBCUniversal.


Deque invites you to join them in their Showcase Suite in Harbor Ballroom G as they explore the exciting new world of mobile accessibility, the new and improved WorldSpace version 5.2, and customer success stories. And don't forget to join them on Tuesday for their Accessible Game Night and reception at 8:00 pm - you won't want to miss it!

Please visit the Sponsor Page of the conference web site for more information about our Sponsors and all the good works they do!


CSUN Cyber Café

The CSUN Cyber Café, sponsored by The Paciello Group, is located in the Registration Area on the 2nd floor.  The perfect place to check your email, follow us on Facebook, be on the look-out for special announcements…or just surf to see what else is happening at the Conference!

6th Annual CSUN Tweet-Up

The CSUN social network event of the conference is back!  This year’s event will be held in the Harbor Ballroom “I” on Thursday, March 20 at 6:30 pm and you won’t want to miss the action. Make sure you’re connected to the other plans and participation options the tweet-up sponsors have in store for you at the 2014 CSUN Tweet-Up! Remember the official conference hashtag is #csun14!

WebAble TV

We are pleased to welcome WebAble TV back to the conference, but now in their new role as our official conference webcaster!  Be on the lookout for the WebAble TV as they will be conducting interviews with sponsors, exhibitors and featured presenters, as well as recording several general sessions and other events.  They will be located in the Exhibit Hall in booth #116.  For more information please visit the WebAble TV website.

Student Poster Session

The future is here!  Please join us as we take a look at what the next generation of practitioners, researchers, counselors and other specialists in our fields are working on in the educational arena.  Students representing San Diego State, Grossmont College, and St. Augustine University will be presenting and discussing their work at a Poster Session at the Grand Hall on Friday, March 21 at 12:00 pm.

Special Saturday Events

SS12 Code for a Cause Finals

We are excited to announce that the Final Competition for Project:Possibility’s SS12 Code for a Cause will once again be held at this year’s conference.  This exciting event will host the innovative open source projects the top teams from CSUN, UCLA and USC have created.  Mark your calendars for this occasion where the First Place team will be announced following the presentations and judging portions on Saturday, March 22 from 9-11 am in the Harbor Ballroom C.  Continental Breakfast will be served following the presentations during the judging portion of the program.


Join the group and hang out for some fun while doing something useful for the community.  This informal gathering will be held on Saturday, March 22 at 12:00 pm in La Jolla A. 

WordPress Tweet-Up

WordPress will be holding a quick “social network gathering” just before the conference officially kicks off.  Join the WordPress Tweet-Up on Tuesday, March 18 at 4:30 pm in La Jolla.


Winter 2014


We want to thank all of you who took the time to submit a proposal to present at this year’s conference and also for publication in our on-line journal of Conference Proceedings. We are so pleased and grateful for the robust educational and research papers we received and we’re confident our attendees will be too.

Speaker Registration has opened and the deadline to register at the regular rate is January 15th. There is no speaker registration permitted after January 30, 2014.

Please note: The speaker acceptance letters indicated that the presentation dates were March 20-22; the correct dates are Wednesday-Friday, March 19-21, 2014. We apologize for any confusion regarding the original notice.


Our impressive roster of experts who will be presenting in-depth information on the latest issues and future trends in the areas of disabilities and technology are posted on the conference web site.

The 2014 Pre-Conference Workshops are again, impressive and informative and will give you a reason to attend early and learn more at the conference. We invite you to review the selections on the web site and sign up as soon as possible as seating is limited.


Conference registration for attendees will open Thursday, January 16, 2014.

The sessions are in the process of being scheduled. Attendees should check the web-site for the General Sessions Schedule which will be posted prior to attendee registration and should be available for your review following the holidays.

The hotel room block has been opened for the conference and you can reserve your accommodations now. Please check the web site for information and be sure to mention the “CSUN Conference” when making your reservations at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.


The hotel has completed a renovation of the property’s meeting space and in addition to upgrading the function rooms, the hotel has re-named all of these rooms. Like you, we will be studying and trying to memorize all the new names, but don’t worry – we’ll have our customer service team of “Red Shirt” guides to assist everyone with this transition.


Please mark your calendars for this year’s Keynote Address at the Conference which will be held March 18, Tuesday evening, at 5:30 pm. Caren Sax, this year’s Conference Chair will host the Tuesday evening event. A Welcome Reception, sponsored by COMCAST will follow the Keynote Address.

We are pleased to announce that this year our Keynote Speaker will be Mr. Tommy Edison. Tommy Edison has been blind since birth and produces online videos that reveal a glimpse into his life and the funny challenges that he faces daily. Mr. Edison is also living his dream as “The Blind Film Critic”. With his unique and interesting perspective as a movie reviewer, Tommy says “I watch movies and pay attention to them in a different way than sighted people do. I’m not distracted by all the beautiful shots and attractive people. I watch a movie for the writing and acting.”

In addition, Mr. Edison has been a radio professional for nearly 25 years, having spent the last 19 at a Connecticut station as – you guessed it - a traffic reporter! Tommy’s engaging personality and humorous stories are sure to provide the conference with an entertaining “kick-off”.

Please join us on Tuesday, March 18, at 5:30 pm when we open the 29th Annual Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference.


We are honored to announce that this year’s Strache Leadership Award Recipient is Dr. David H. Rose. Dr. Rose is a developmental neuropsychologist and educator whose primary focus is on the development of new technologies for learning. In 1984, Dr. Rose co-founded CAST, a not-for-profit research and development organization whose mission is to improve education, for all learners, through innovative uses of modern multimedia technology and contemporary research in the cognitive neurosciences. That work has grown into the field called Universal Design for Learning which now influences educational policy and practice throughout the United States and internationally. Dr. Rose also teaches at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education where he has been on the faculty for almost 30 years.

The Strache Leadership Award will be presented to Dr. David Rose at the Keynote Address on Tuesday evening.


Join us on Wednesday, March 19 when we open the door to the Exhibit Hall! With so many innovative products and services on display, you’ll want to get your preview at the opening starting at 12:00 pm on Wednesday. We invite you to review the list of exhibitors on the conference web site to prepare your schedule and organize your time and please note the new hours for this year.

The Exhibit Hall will be located in the Douglas Pavilion/Grand Hall on the lobby level of the hotel. The Exhibit Hall Opening Reception will be held at 12:30 pm following the opening.


Please be sure to visit our Showcase Suite Sponsors and attend their “special” sessions in their Showcase Suites! Conveniently located in the Elizabeth (Harbor) Ballroom, the Showcase Suites are open from Wednesday, March 19 through Friday, March 21. The Showcase Suites will be hosted by Deque Systems, Freedom Scientific, GOOGLE and IBM. All presentations by these companies will be held in their suites and we’re sure you’ll find an abundance of other activities happening here!



We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our 2014 Sponsors. In addition to those previously mentioned, I would like to acknowledge the collaboration of Nokia, Oracle, Adobe, and SSB BART and our media sponsors, ABILITY magazine and TVWorldwide.


Many of our attendees, speakers and exhibitors are familiar with TVWorldwide’s presence at the conference over the last several years. Their videos of the Keynote Address, timely interviews, and “breaking news” at the event has been an entertaining and informative stop not only for conference participants, but especially for those who are unable to attend.

This year we are proud to announce that we are expanding TVWorldwide’s role and will be offering a selection of General Session presentations that can be purchased following the conference.

Recording Policy: 

TVWorldwide is the only company authorized by CSUN’s Center on Disabilities permitted to videotape any portion of the conference. Unauthorized recordings of any nature are strictly prohibited. We thank you in advance for your cooperation with this policy.

Please note that the Center on Disabilities will be closed for the university’s Winter Break from December 24-January 1. Speakers may continue to register on-line while we are out and any questions or information will be followed-up on our return January 2, 2014.

For updates and news about the CSUN Conference look for our emails and announcements, like us on Facebook, feel free to tweet about us and check the website regularly.


Best regards,

Sandy Plotin
Managing Director
Center on Disabilities
California State University, Northridge

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