March 11, 2002 Vol. VI, No. 12

Northridge Center Hosts Assistive Technologies Conference

Center on Disabilities-Sponsored Event is the Largest of its Kind in the World 2002

Several thousand people are expected to gather next week for a six-day conference sponsored by Cal State Northridge that will focus on how assistive technologies can help people with disabilities, the largest event of its kind in the world.

The 17th annual international conference on "Technology and Persons with Disabilities" will occupy two large hotels near Los Angeles International Airport from Monday, March 18 through Saturday, March 23. The event will draw educators and others who deal with disabilities from all 50 states and some 35 different countries.

"This conference is synonymous with the field of disabilities and technology. This conference is the biggest and the most international of its kind in the world," said Harry (Bud) Rizer, director of the Center on Disabilities(right), which produces the conference.

Assistive technologies are those that help people with disabilities (blind, deaf, communicative, cognitive and movement impaired) function better in their daily lives. Conference session categories will include accessing the Internet, assistive technologies for K-12 and postsecondary educators, workplace accommodations, and blind/low vision issues.

The conference will begin Monday and Tuesday with 33 different preconference workshops, for which participants for the first time can receive continuing education units (CEUs). Then the main portion of the conference will be held Wednesday through Saturday, with more than 300 presentations scheduled.

Gregg Vanderheiden, a pioneer in the field of augmentative communication and assistive technology, will give the conference's keynote address at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday in the International Ballroom of the Hilton Los Angeles Airport Hotel. The conference also is occupying the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel.

Many Cal State Northridge students also will be attending as part of their classes, including nearly 225 from the university's Special Education Department, which prepares future special education teachers. Rizer said the center for the first time is fully subsidizing the conference registration costs for those students.

The conference will include a "Web Playroom" at the Marriott from Tuesday through Friday where participants can sample the latest in accessible software. On Thursday and Friday, Microsoft Corp. is sponsoring "In Our Own Words" at the Marriott, where 16 people will share their personal success stories with assistive technologies.

The conference also will feature exhibit halls featuring products and services from more than 150 exhibitors from Wednesday to Saturday.

The university's Center on Disabilities provides assistive technology services and other forms of academic accommodations to CSUN students, offers seminars and hosts the annual conference. More information and registration details are available from the Northridge center at

@csun | March 11, 2002 issue
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