From 14 – 16 November we captioned the plenary sessions of the Australian Assistive Technology Conference (AATC) held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC).
It was a really interesting conference with a strong overall theme of experience, opportunities and innovations. Keynote speakers included present and past Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioners, assistive technology (AT) users, innovators, advocates, professionals in the AT field and an impressive young man (Oli Pizzey-Stratford) who spoke about his AT journey and his grandpa’s incredible creations in the back shed.
One of the keynote speakers, an AT user, said this about her equipment: “You might think it is weird to name my assistive technology, but they are so much a part of my life that they take on a life and personality of their own. I think it helps to break down barriers in interaction. If I tell you that this is a wheelchair, it is just a bit of equipment ‑ cold and impersonal. But if I introduce Xena and tell you that she is an important part of my life and creative work, you will see her totally different … I think because I do personalise my technology, it encourages my support workers to treat my equipment with more respect. It also tells you a lot about my relationship with the equipment. Penny is a good friend who communicates my personality. Xena is creative and a little bit sexy.”
I like what she’s said here, mostly because it’s very similar to how I feel about my steno machine. Now to think of a name for my sexy purple technology!