New conference launched on assistive technology and autism

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World-leading experts in robotics, biometrics and cloud-based technology are among key speakers at a one-day conference on assistive technology, sensory issues and autism taking place in Manchester (UK) on 1 October

Autech 2015 is the brain-child of Wirral Autistic Society, a multi award-winning charity employing over 800 people and attracting attention nationwide for its innovative services.

Speakers will include:

  • Dr Matthew Goodwin from Northeastern University, Boston, on biometric readers and how they are being used to help understand anxiety triggers for people with autism.
  • Dr Ben Robins from the University of Hertfordshire, with Kaspar, a child-sized humanoid robot designed to help teachers and parents support children with autism.
  • David Fry, chief executive of Brain in Hand, a cutting-edge assistive technology designed to reduce anxieties for people and help increase their independence.
  • Yvonne Crowhurst and Yvonne Smith, experts at supporting non-verbal people with autism to find their voices through the use of iPad based communications apps.

Also speaking will be autism champion Dame Stephanie Shirley, named by the Science Council as one of the UK’s top 100 practising scientists, and autism sensory expert Olga Bogdashina.

Conference organiser Jane Carolan, operations director at Wirral Autistic Society, said: ‘The pace at which technology is moving forward is quite incredible. Today’s portable devices, apps and cloud computing are opening up a new world to the people we support. And who knows where this innovation may lead us. Over the next decade we may even see thought-activated technology, advanced robotics and augmented reality – technologies that we once thought of as science fiction – becoming widely available and affordable.

‘Assistive technologies can be truly life-changing and we feel it is part of our mission as an autism charity to ensure everyone has access to this information and is part of the debate about how we want to support people with autism in the future.’

Autech 2015 is for social care professionals, educators and autism practitioners but the organisers also hope to attract the families and carers of those with autism who want to ensure they are briefed on the very latest technological developments. As well as speakers it will feature a market place for delegates, an exhibition of art by people with autism on the theme ‘art and technology’, and networking opportunities.

For further information and to book places, please click here

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Special World, from Inclusive Technology, is a free website linking 125,000 special education teachers, speech therapists and occupational therapists in 150 countries. Special World readers and contributors work with children who have additional needs or special educational needs including those with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties and disabilities.

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