Dan and Amy are in Paris attending a conference organized by UNESCO and Microsoft entitled “Accessible ICTs and Personalized Learning for Students with Disabilities: A Dialogue among Educators, Industry, Government and Civil Society.”  Dan is writing a series of reports from Paris – here is the first one:

Today was a big day. We woke up this morning and realized that we were going to be leaving on a 7 day journey half way around the world. This journey actually started about 6 months ago when one of the parents at Lakeside Center for Autism (LCA) approached us about how we use the Kinect in therapy and what effects it has on children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. We have been very fortunate to collaborate and share our ideas around technology and how it can support kids on the spectrum. From this work LCA has been asked to be present for a global meeting through an organization called UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). This meeting is intended to discuss access of information and communication technology for individuals with special needs. We are thrilled to be representatives of LCA and the families that attend our programs. We believe that technology needs to be a part of the circle of care for children with ASD and we strive to find ways of utilizing and providing access to all children we see.

For more information on the UNESCO conference, click here.

For me, this was my first international flight and travel overseas and the first time that Amy and I are going to be away from our amazing girls, Bailey, Peyton and Madden for 7 days. It was hard to leave them this morning. Quite a different experience than traveling in the US. The people are different, the process is different and all I can say is, “WOW,” when it comes to going to a country where you do not understand anything that the people say. It really gives you a perspective on how our kids experience the world when they really don’t understand what is going on. I can’t imagine the sheer frustration and overall confusion of living in a world that does not make sense. Considering this is my first trip, I have done fairly well so far. It is all relative though, I guess. We took the train and metro to the hotel that took about 2 hours total with only one wrong turn and of course the anxiety of wondering if you got it right and are on the right train or metro. It was also amazing to run into two people that were nice enough to help us lost souls. It must have been obvious to them because they came right up to us and asked what we were looking for.  Shockingly, they both spoke English just as well as they spoke French. Eventually we arrived at the hotel and now it is time for some sleep. Tomorrow is a big day with round table and break out discussions. I cannot wait to start talking about the importance, improvements and recommendations for technology for children with special needs around the world. Will post again later.

Posted by: Dan, Speech-Language Therapist

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