“Let Me In”: The 3rd Annual International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference

Virtual AbilityFriday September 27th and Saturday September 28th will see the 3rd Annual International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC) take place in Second Life.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Let Me In”, and focuses on different perspectives about access that are of interest to persons with disabilities, and seeks to address issues of inclusion and freedom of participation.

Virtual Ability Island - the hub of Virtual Ability's work in Second Life
Virtual Ability Island – the hub of Virtual Ability’s work in Second Life

Persons with all types of disabilities can be fully functioning community members, given appropriate accessibility accommodations when needed. However, despite increasing legal protections ensuring access and community participation, significant barriers to equal access for persons with disabilities still exist:

  • A person with a disability or chronic health condition may not have access to all the facilities, resources, and communities that persons without these conditions have. A person with a mobility disability may be stymied by a flight of stairs leading to a public building, by public transportation their wheelchair won’t go into, or even by the tall threshold of a shop
  • A person with a visual impairment may be unable to benefit from daily newspapers or printed textbooks
  • A Deaf person may not be able to communicate on the phone, or receive information on radio announcements or at public lectures. Persons with developmental or intellectual disabilities may have difficulty understanding public policies or getting appropriate health care.

Panels of citizens from around the world will provide background as conference participants explore both policy and implementation aspects of providing full accessibility.

Commenting on the upcoming conference, Alice Krueger (Gentle Heron in SL), President of Virtual Ability, Inc., said:

For persons with disabilities, access to information is critical. We must be included in research about the world, and our needs must be considered in policy development. We also should have access to buildings, transportation, and all the other resources used by persons who do not have disabilities. Having access to the full function of communities in which we engage is equally important. “Let me in” is a logical follow-up to last year’s IDRAC conference which focused on communities people with disabilities belong to.

The conference will take place at the Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island.

The Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island - locations of the 3rd IDRAC
The Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Island – locations of the 3rd IDRAC

Programme Outline

For full details on the conference programme schedule, including updates and changes, please refer to the IDRAC Presentation Schedule. All times given her are SLT.

Friday September 27th

  • 08:30-09:30 – Keynote Address, Dr. Letitica De León:- Play to the Strengths: Accessible Fun and Learning for All Children
  • 10:00-11:00 – Dr. Sarah Rule: Training Community Based Rehabilitation Personnel in South Africa
  • 11:30-12:30 – Vulcan Viper: Accessibility in Mind
  • 13:00-14:00 – Vicki Robinson:  Teaching Physics to Deaf Students in a 3-D Immersive World
  • 14:30-15:30 – Jennifer Sarrett:  Disability in the Developing World: The Case of Autism in Kerala
  • 16:00-17:00 – Teresa Goddard: Service Animals in the Workplace
  • 17:30-18:30 – International Panel #1: Disability Rights Around the World

Saturday September 28th

  • 06:00-07:00 – Dr. Wisdom Mprah Does Disability Matter? Disability in Sexual and Reproductive Health Policies and Research in Ghana
  • 07:00-08:00 – International Panel #2: Disability Rights Around the World
  • 08:30-10:00 – Keynote Address, Dr. John Stone, The World Report on Disability
  • 10:00-11:00 – Christel Schneider:  European Language Portfolios for Specific Purposes
  • 11:30-12:30 – Dr. Margaret Stineman:  Empowerment Medicine: Engaging Together
  • 13:00-14:00 – International Panel #3: Disability Rights Around the World
  • 14:30-15:30 – Mike Rose: Inclusive Emergency Preparedness, or “I’ll Open My Own Doors” 16:00-17:00 – Dr. Nina Slota: Gender, Community, and Collaboration: The Experiences of Women Living with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • 17:30-18:30 – International Panel #4: Disability Rights Around the World.

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