Technology improves disability accessibility

NANAIMO – Event gathers community groups to share information.

Technology will be the focus as Vancouver Island University holds its third International Day of Persons with Disabilities event on Wednesday (Dec. 3).

The event will take place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Arbutus room of Building 300 and will follow a drop-in format, with about 15 various organizations from the community sharing information about their organizations, according to Denise Hook, an education counsellor with disability services at the university.

She said technology has allowed people with disabilities new ways to move around.

“Curb cuts (sloped curb) were the start of accessibility and now, with, for example, power wheelchairs, that technology can do a great deal,” said Hook. “We’ve got technology with computers, so you can speak to your computer. It will print what you say, it will read to you what’s on the screen, so there’s all different technologies that have been developed to help people with accessibility issues.”

Amongst the groups in attendance, the Nanaimo Brain Injury Society, Nanaimo Organization for Visually Impaired and the Nanaimo Nitro soccer group, which consists of power wheelchair users who play soccer.

“Different organizations come to share the information they have to share how people can get in touch with them to access services and then there’s a lot of networking that goes on between people that come and the services that are available,” Hook said.

Originally called the International Day of Disabled Persons, it was proclaimed by the United Nations’ general assembly in 1992 and aims to raise awareness about disability issues.

To learn more, please e-mail disabilityservices@viu.ca.