AUBURN – A keynote address by Michael Hingson, a blind 9-11 survivor who, with the help of his guide dog, led a group of people to safety from the 78th floor of World Trade Center Tower One, will kick off the second Alabama Assistive Technology Expo and Conference at Auburn University May 19-20.
Assistive technology includes mobility devices, such as wheelchairs and walkers, and hardware like video phones for the hearing impaired or text readers for individuals with limited vision. Such tools can prove essential for individuals with disabilities in maximizing employment, education and recreation opportunities.
The event, sponsored by Auburn’s Center for Disability Research and Service, Office of Professional and Continuing Education and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, will showcase products, practices and services available to individuals with disabilities.
Conference sessions will offer insight into the use of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch as assistive technology devices; adaptive recreation and athletics; and STAR, Alabama’s assistive technology act program.
Hingson is an acclaimed speaker who has appeared on Larry King Live and has traveled the world speaking on topics such as trust and teamwork, turning the tables on terrorism and using inner tools to succeed and move forward after 9-11. He is an authority on assistive technology and an advocate for empowering people with varying abilities. In 2008, he formed The Michael Hingson Group to continue his speaking career and to serve as a consultant for corporations and organizations needing assistance with inclusive, diversity and adaptive technology training.
Scott Renner, assistive technology coordinator for Auburn’s Center for Disability Research and Service, credits assistive technology for helping him enjoy some of the same activities he engaged in before a diving accident 18 years ago that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Assistive technology enables him to turn on lights, open doors and answer his phone, but it also affords him the freedom to engage in more adventurous pursuits like water skiing.
Renner said the ALATEC Conference, held with support from the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation and Counseling/School Psychology in Auburn’s College of Education, provides an opportunity to educate the public about the university’s research work as well as emerging technology.
Registration for the conference is $100 on or before May 12 and $125 after that date. For more information and to register, go to www.auburn.edu/outreach/alatec.