‘Topic A’: Disability Awareness and Accessible Technology

Symposium Topics Include Anxiety, Tai Chi

“Topic A” stands for awareness, anxiety and accessibility on Wednesday, Oct. 11.

Anxiety is the focus of that day’s Disability Awareness Symposium, which is held annually in conjunction with the Accessibility Technology Fair. The symposium will be from noon to 1 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Student Community Center, and the accessibility fair — with technology vendors — will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the same room. The symposium and fair are for students, staff and faculty.

Emilio Licea mugshot

For the symposium, psychologist Emilio Licea of Student Health and Counseling Services will speak on “Anxiety: When Striving Keeps You From Thriving.”

The symposium flier states: “Anxiety is something we all experience in our daily lives. Anxiety can be a motivating factor in getting assignments and projects finished. But anxiety unchecked can be debilitating and detrimental to one’s mental health. Anxiety, when recognized, can be managed and treated to keep you thriving.”

Besides Licea’s talk, the symposium will include a demonstration of tai chi — seen as a way to reduce anxiety and stress.

The symposium and fair, which come amid National Disability Awareness Month, are sponsored by the Chancellor’s Disability Issues Administration Advisory Committee, the Office of Campus Community Relations and the Student Disability Center.

Joshua Hori, accessible technology analyst at the Student Disability Center, chair of the Disability Issues Administrative Advisory Committee and a member of the campus’s E-Access Committee, described “some amazing vendors” coming to the fair:

  • Touch Graphics, maker of printed, tactile, three-dimensional maps that interact with the LiveScribe Smartpen, which records and stores audio. With a Touch Graphics campus map, you could use the Smartpen to tap on a building to hear details about what’s inside the building.
  • Phonak, maker of a unique, assisted-listening device — the Roger Pen — for people who are deaf or hard of hearing. “The difference with this device is that it has different listening modes, giving the user more control of their audio environment,” Hori said.
  • NorthState Assistive Technology will showcase new technology for people who are blind or have low vision. “We are piloting one of the technologies on campus with blind and low-vision students to make their course materials more accessible,” Hori said. “Using wearable technology called OrCam, students can ‘read’ the text around them. The OrCam camera, attached to glasses, reads text aloud to users within seconds, removing barriers for users who have vision troubles.” Hori said the NorthState representative also will showcase NeuEyes (“a set of glasses for magnifying the world around you”) and accessible tablets.
  • Sterling Adaptives, which resells software called Sonocent Audio Notetaker, a new way to take notes — and as such, Hori said, “a great service for people with learning disabilities.” The software records audio in visual “chunks,” which the student can mark in different colors for later reference. “With additional noise cancelling capabilities, this has been a huge hit with our students in need of audio recording of lectures,” he said.

Hori said the fair also will include tabling by Student Health and Counseling Services, Mind Spa, Student Disability Center, Disability Management Services (for faculty and staff) and Staff Assembly.

Other participants:

  • Center for Accessible Technologies, or CAT — Housed in Shields Library, the center provides six computers that have 30-inch monitors and are loaded with accessible technology. Similarly equipped computers (albeit with smaller screens) can be found in all computer labs on campus.
  • UC Davis Stores’ TechHub — It can work with Financial Aid to help students get what they need in accessible technology.
  • California Department of Rehabilitation
  • California AgrAbility — Serving the agricultural industry.

In need of accommodations for this event? Please send your request by email. Note: 72 hours may be needed for some requests if outside services are required.

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