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European Network for Psychosocial Crisis Management – Assisting Disabled in Case of Disaster

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I would like to draw your attention to a two-year project European Network for Psychosocial Crisis Management – Assisting Disabled in Case of Disaster planned for the years 2013 - 2014 and supported by the European Commission. The project coordinator is Germany (Centre for Psychotraumatology, Krefeld) and partners are the Czech Republic (Charles University, Prague), Denmark (University of Southern Denmark), Germany (Federal office of civil protection and disaster assistance, Bonn) and Norway (Norwegian Centre of Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Oslo). Other cooperating partners are Ministry of the Interior (Czech Republic), University of Cologne (Germany), Israel Trauma Coalition and Spanish Society for trauma, traumatic stress and dissociation.

The project aims at the implementation of previous results in the area of psychosocial aftercare in case of disasters (project EUTOPA) and the development of materials and programs to improve practice in working with people with disabilities and special needs in situations of emergencies and disasters. The project is aimed specifically at people with visual and/or hearing impairments. An important result is the creation of a network of people who are focused on security, crisis management and support people with special communication needs. The main purpose of the project is to improve emergency preparedness based on research and practical experience, conduct qualitative studies on deaf and blinds and organise workshops. After the development of EUNAD recommendations and a taskforce, pilot trainings for different vocational groups will be conducted.

For more information: (in English), (in Czech).

I think it would be important and beneficial for people interested in this issue to follow the outputs of this project. Perhaps it would be a good idea to consider whether there are some synergies and areas of cooperation between ATIS4all and this project.

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Accessibility design at the service of age-friendly environments, The VERITAS approach to Design-for-all

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The VERITAS project, which develops simulation-based and virtual reality tools to test the accessibility of assistive technologies and product design in order to ensure that future products and services are being systematically designed for all, will hold its Final User Forum in Brussels on the 16th May 2013 in parallel with AGE Platform Europe’s annual Conference “Towards an age-friendly EU by 2020”. The event "Accessibility design at the service of age-friendly environments - The VERITAS approach to Design-for-all", will target users of accessible products and services as well as stakeholders involved in policy and practice related to ageing, disability and accessibility. This highly participative event will discuss the VERITAS paradigm as a concrete case study of how ICT technologies can contribute to design-for-all. Furthermore, by sharing the project outcomes and evaluating the usability and impact of the VERITAS technology, it will showcase how the VERITAS tools can levy obstacles to independent living of older people and people with disabilities and contribute age-friendly environments. Participants will discuss exploitation plans and business opportunities, as well as make the necessary links with relevant EU policies and initiatives. The conclusions and recommendations of the User Forum will feed into the project’s final phases and will be communicated to the European Commission. Participation to the VERITAS User Forum is open and free of charge. Registration is possible here. More information is available here.   For more information please contact Nena Georgantzi, Legal & Research Officer at
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Present Challenges of AT (A conversation with our Guru Jutta Treviranus

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 This afternoon trying to catch up with one of our Gurus, I had an interesting conversation with Jutta Treviranus, Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University in Toronto.  The main two trends identified by Jutta´s research group within the ICT Assistive Technology field are rather worrysome.

 The first one referrs to the topic of Technology Gap or digital breach as it is called in southern europe. This issue brings two different problematics. Those are related on the first place to digital literacy and technology availability for the underpriviledged (let´s remember that your chances to be on the lowest income cohort multiply by ten if you are disabled) and secondly to keep up with the pase that mainstream technology marks. Digital literacy and technology availability are burnning issues related to society levels of development and wellfare. It is obvious that digital literacy inevitably comes after plane literacy and that technology availability comes after proper shelter and nutrition. Providing jaws systems and computers in the outskirts of Addis Ababa will certanly empower the blind but apart from being a limited option (at least for now), full inclusion is more related to development than to the access to  technology.  The second part of this problem, related to keeping up with mainstream technology concerns to the accessibility of the lattest platforms (browsers, social media, etc). This is in many case a tiring process for the disabled such as the blind. If Facebook forgets about accessibility when decides to launch the "timeline" or Google does not make available an accessible version of the translator API, users end up in discourage and unease. This problem is much easier to tackle to the first one described.

The second critical trend observed by Jutta´s team is the deteriorated economic health of Assistive Technology Vendors and providers. She explained the existing market fragmentation and overlapping work carried out within the sector. The way forward according to her matches with ATIS4ALL principles, this is the promotion of multisided platforms online and offline in which the market is concern about the needs, developments, paths, etc... some strange facts are that there is a 98% of consumer abandonment regarding AT products this shows the chaotic picture of the market since user needs, financial and technical strategies are not well implemented. 

On the last have of the talk Jutta told me about her ongoing work related to fostering employment capabilites through technology and the famous Raising the Floor initiatives along Greg Vanderheiden (also an ATIS4ALL Guru) related to standarisation initiatives. 

To check out more about this multi-disciplinary guru and her work more in depth, check out :

Maybe you prefer to here one of her conferences

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