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Chennai to host conference on Augmentative and Alternative Communication

D.N.I.S. News Network- Communication barriers greatly hamper participation of people with speech related disabilities but Augmentative and Alternative Communication (A.A.C.) is fast emerging as a widely recognised intervention method to address this issue.

Vidya Sagar and International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (I.S.A.A.C.) will hold a three-day Conference in Chennai (18,19, 20 December 2005) for disseminating information and spreading awareness about this method which broadly refers to ways (other than speech) that are used for interpersonal communication.

The conference will bring together Augmentative and Alternative Communication users and professionals, both in the field of disability and technology, to enable debate and work out solutions suitable for India.

The specific objectives of I.S.A.A.C. - which has Vidya Sagar and many other organisations in India as members - are to promote the development of innovative Augmentative and Alternative Communication devices to meet the indigenous needs, including Community Based Rehabilitation. Development of strategies and A.A.C. aids to support language use and development in children with cerebral palsy and visual impairment and to develop strategies for Augmentative and Alternative Communication use in mainstream classrooms.

The conference has been divided into three sections: a) Paper Presentations b) Workshops c) Poster Presentations. Each case study would be presented by a person with disability for which an appropriate A.A.C. device has not been designed. The case study will highlight the challenges specific to this person, and the lacunae in the current available aids.

The task for the participants in the workshop will be to meet the challenge by any one of the following: 1. Creating a design 2. Creating a prototype 3. Proposing an adaptation of an existing device. Resource people will be available for the participants of the workshop for consultation during the conference. The workshop will run parallel to the paper presentations, on all three days.