First workshop on technology and disability in the developing world

As part of our Technology & Disability agenda, we’re  partnering with Change, Disability Studies, and AccessComputing to co-sponsor a one-day workshop on technology and disability in the developing world. The workshop will take place on on Friday, October 2, 2009. View agenda.

Michele Frix and Philip Neff, two TASCHA-affiliated researchers, will present their findings:

Socio-economic issues in expanding access to the disabled in Latin America: Evidence from Ecuador, Venezuela, Mexico, and Guatemala
Philip Neff, University of Washington

Organizing and advocacy from the grassroots, champions within national governments, and recently implemented legal reforms have made the Latin American region an important focus for academic and activist engagement with disability rights issues. Bringing the critical insights of a social model of disability and a rights-based perspective to the issue of employment and employability, we outline a general landscape of factors influencing social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities, drawn from primary field interviews conducted with attendees of computer training centers for people with disabilities, participants in an intensive wheelchair mobility training course, and disability rights advocates and policy-makers in Mexico, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

Common technical failures in low-resource environments — examples from field research in Latin America
Michele Frix, University of Washington

High rates of poverty, discrimination and social exclusion, a lack of institutional capacity for advocacy, and a growing dependence on technology access in the labor market, reaffirm the necessity of an increased agenda on systematic research into issues of disability in Latin America. Drawing from interviews with people with disabilities who are technology users or instructors, we document the common technical failures in low-resource environments. Using an ethnographic approach, this presentation highlights the experiences of these users to discuss the need for design of technologies that take into account the usage conditions of low-resource scenarios.