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Home design with technology accessibility will be displayed


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POSTED: Monday, June 01, 2009

People attending a free public fair, "Making Life Accessible Through Technology," tomorrow at the Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall will have a chance to vote on the best design for a multigenerational house.

Twelve senior students in Chaminade University's Interior Design Program were assigned to redesign a house to make it more accessible and usable to occupants, including one with a disability and an aging parent.

Besides receiving a grade, the projects will be exhibited at the 9 a.m.-to-6 p.m. conference with afternoon workshops on home modification for people with disabilities.

The projects will be juried professionally as well as by the public, and awards presented at the conference.

"It is the Disability and Communication Access Board's hope that this 'exercise' will make upcoming design students more aware of accessibility as they enter their design careers," said Executive Director Francine Wai.

The DCAB is sponsoring the event with the Assistive Technology Resource Centers of Hawaii, DBTAC-Pacific ADA Center and AARP.

Presenting seminars in the morning on "Living, Working and Learning with Technology" will be:

» Dinah Cohen, director of the U.S. Department of Defense, Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program. She works with federal leaders to ensure that employees, wounded military service members and others with disabilities have equal access to federal services and employment.

» Larry Scadden of Kailua-Kona, blind researcher and author of "Surpassing Expectations," who has worked to improve the lives of people with disabilities through application of technology and access to science and mathematics education.

» Ann Ito, director of the KOKUA Program at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. The program provides academic access and support to students with disabilities. Ito, who is blind, was instrumental in developing the program more than 40 years ago.

Also scheduled in the morning will be an in interactive computer exploration program for children with disabilities called "Camp Cool."

A Technology Fair from noon to 6 p.m. will feature exhibits and presentations focusing on assistive technology and other products to improve lives of people with disabilities.

A miniature film festival featuring disability-related vignettes in media will be shown in the afternoon.

For more information, see www.hawaiiatconferences.com.