Between Wednesday morning and Friday afternoon, the iLearn team (Vina, Mari, and Michelle) participated in over 20 CSUN sessions where presenters (including the iLearn team!) shared their passions and research to support individuals of varying ages and abilities in creating a more accessible, functional, and interactive world. At ICAN Center for Autism, our mission is to provide the best hope and future for children and families affected by autism spectrum disorders. At CSUN we were reminded that people all over the world are affected by autism as well as other disabilities, such as cognitive, motor, vision, and hearing impairments that will affect their lives through adulthood. The single factor that brought these people, their families, and educators to the CSUN conference was their desire to learn more about how TECHNOLOGY can play a role in their lives for the better. Everyone has their opinions about what technology means to them and whether it makes our lives  better or worse, but from what information we gathered at CSUN, W're going to go ahead and say it - technology makes our lives better... if we have access to it and know how to use it!  Some of the highlights from the past three days included discussions on the following:

  • Web-based programming to create interactive learning for children with autism
  • Creating improved accessibility online, on your e-reader, tablet, GPS device, and smartphone
  • Social networking for people with disabilities (facebook, twitter, google+, youtube, etc)
  • Video and text magnification for the blind/low vision
  • People with disabilities and the arts
  • Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP), symbol taxonomies, word prediction and multimedia and how all of them relate to AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) for children with ASD

We also saw exhibits from CSUN conference sponsors Adobe, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Freedom Scientific, SSB Bart Group, Deque, and Ability Magazine, as well as over 120 other companies continuing to make an impact in the world of assistive technology. We're so thankful for the opportunity to have spent some time in this community and with companies who work tirelessly to make technology work for all people.