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Sunday, 1 November 2015

Dubai to host region's first assistive technology expo next month.

AdTech AdIn a bid to explore the gap between ability and disability, Al Noor Training Centre will host a two-day expo next month to create awareness on assistive technology (AT). 'Al Noor Assistive TechX 2015', in collaboration with Windows 10, will take place on November 12-13 showcasing the impact technology has on improving functional capabilities of individuals with special needs.
Accessibility, participation, quality, employment, education, training and social integration for those with disabilities will be the main focus of the first-of-its-kind expo.

For 22-year-old Aarti Shah, such an event couldn't come sooner enough in this region. Born with Down Syndrome, Shah is no different to anyone else.

She has the same dreams and aspirations as her peers, but the one thing that makes her stand out is the fact she is living her dream.

"I'm the official photographer for Al Noor. Photography has always been my passion and Isphana (Director at Al Noor) gave me the opportunity to pursue the passion full time."

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Shah now lives in Dubai and she said inclusion is vital in making disabled people feel able.

"Al Noor has been so good to me. They want you to be your own person and I am my own person. Technology really helps aid this individuality."

TechX 2015 will bring together individuals with disabilities, parents, community members, specialists, therapists and AT manufacturers and suppliers to openly discuss how technology can foster independence in each and every child with disabilities.

During the announcement, members of the Press interacted with students at the centre to get a first-hand look at how the technology is utilised. Six-year-old Manal has always had a flair for music. But with weakened muscle movement in her hands, she finds it difficult to grasp instruments.
However, Beamz technology means this is no longer an issue.

Using laser beam controllers, Manal can use her hand movements to make sound. No matter your age, physical, or cognitive ability, students using this technology can change the sound to suit their mood creating soft, loud, high or low notes.

"Children are no longer frustrated," speech and language therapist Vinu Johnson told Khaleej Times. "Since introducing AT into the classroom, behaviours have changed. Students can now communicate through this technology and finally join in with the things they love," he said.

With employment one of the key areas of focus at TechX 2015, Windows Business Group leader, Mohammed Arif told Khaleej Times, with one billion people in the world living with a disability, "it is well within the interest of businesses and companies" to include these people in the work place.

"This technology is easily adaptable in the workplace but that's not what we need to focus on. We need to show these employers that these potential employees bring diversity to the workplace. It is a huge target group and they need to tap into this." TechX 2015 will be held under the patronage of Shaikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Protection of the Rights of People with Disabilities, at Al Noor Indoor Sports Auditorium.

Source: Khaleej Times , 28th Oct 2015

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