The 2017 Adirondack Assistive Technology Expo will be held on October 23 and 24 at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake, N.Y. Sponsored by Clarkson University's Department of Occupational Therapy, the conference is intended to deliver relevant and current information on assistive technology (AT) that can promote independence and participation in meaningful activities for people with disabilities of all ages and abilities. It is the premier source of AT education for the Central and Northern New York, Vermont, and beyond. Additional support for this event is provided by the New York State TRAID program, the John Ben Snow Foundation, and the North Country Assistive Technology Network.
The Adirondack AT Expo serves an interprofessional audience which includes therapists, special educators, vocational rehabilitation counselors, administrators, disability advocates and service providers. In addition, individuals with disabilities, their family members or their caregivers may find the information and resources from the Expo beneficial in their own decision-making and advocacy. Continuing education credits will be awarded by Clarkson University’s OT Department, an approved provider of continuing education for the American Occupational Therapy Association, and the Clarkson University’s PT Department, an approved provider of NY Physical Therapy Association continuing education.
The two-day event features a keynote presentation followed by numerous breakout sessions addressing a wide range of AT topics. This year's keynote presentation, “Advocacy and Activism: Paving the Way for Opportunity”, will be delivered by civil rights attorney and disability advocate John Lancaster of Potsdam, NY. A decorated Vietnam veteran, Mr. Lancaster currently serves as the Secretary/Treasurer on the Board of Directors for the Tri-Lakes Center for Independent Living. In addition, he has held numerous national and international leadership roles in organizations and agencies responsible for shaping disability policy. Two of his most distinguished accomplishments include serving as the Executive Director of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities under the Clinton Administration, and his appointment by President Obama to serve on the Board of Directors for the United States Institute of Peace.
The conference's format of concurrent breakout session topics will allow attendees to tailor their conference experience to those topics that are most interesting and relevant to themselves or the individuals they work with. This year's breakout sessions will include presentations addressing a variety of areas, including AT to support education, vocation, recreation, community involvement and independent living, AT for mental health, strategies for effective AT evaluation, implementation and support, DIY assistive technologies using a variety of tools, including 3-D printing, environmental modifications, and more. A complete list of sessions and their descriptions can be found at www.clarkson.edu/ot/atexpo/breakout.
New to the conference this year is the addition of a “Distinguished Lectureship”, sponsored by the North Country Assistive Technology Network. This year’s Distinguished Lecture, “AT and the Maker Movement: Tools for Measuring Outcomes”, will be delivered by John Damiao of Dominican College. An occupational therapist and specialist in assistive technology and seating/mobility, John is a consultant at the Center for Discovery in Harris, NY, where he is the lead designer on the IndieGo project. The IndieGo is an open source, add-on device that can convert any manual wheelchair to a power wheelchair at a fraction of the cost. John and his project team were recently awarded a $1.125 million grant to further their IndieGo development. In addition, he is the lead researcher on a Hearst Foundation Grant exploring “smart” wheelchair technology. John is currently pursuing his PhD in Health Related Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University. His presentation will explore the connections between innovation, evidence-based practice, and meaningful outcomes.
In addition to the conference sessions, participants will have an opportunity to visit exhibitor booths, discuss products and engage in hands-on AT exploration, and are invited to an informal social/networking event on Monday evening (details to come).
Conference organizers are particularly committed to extending this educational opportunity to individuals with disabilities, family members and caregivers. Informed clients and family members can be instrumental in ensuring that AT recommendations are a good fit with an individual’s needs, abilities and preferences. However, knowledge and awareness are essential to effective self-advocacy. Consequently, supplemental funding has been made available to support individuals with disabilities, family members, or caregivers who wish to attend the Expo. In addition to the informative breakout sessions, the Expo is a great opportunity for AT "consumers" to network with vendors, organizations and AT specialists. Funding to support conference registration, travel and accommodations is available to qualifying individuals thanks to a generous gift from the John Ben Snow Foundation. Visit our website or contact Lisa Tebo for more information about this opportunity.
Advance registration for the conference is required, with an early registration discount available until October 1. Additional conference information, session descriptions and registration information can be found by visiting at http://www.clarkson.edu/ot/atexpo. Questions about the conference can be directed to Marcy Bennett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 315-268-2189; or Lisa Tebo at email@example.com or 315-268-4413.