July 4, 2015

Dr Ben Robins of the University of Hertfordshire with Kaspar the social robot and a young child with autism.
Dr Ben Robins of the University of Hertfordshire with Kaspar the social robot and a young child with autism.

Featuring… robotics… biometrics… cloud-based technology…. apps           

A new one-day conference exploring autism, assistive technologies and sensory issues, will be held on Thursday 1 October at Old Trafford in Manchester.

The conference, Autech 2015, will gather together world-leading experts in robotics, biometrics and cloud-based technology, to explore how people with autism can be better understood, supported and encouraged to live the fullest lives possible.

Autech 2015 is for social care professionals, educators and autism practitioners – but also for the families and carers of those with autism who want to ensure they are briefed on the very latest technological developments and for technology enthusiasts.

Speakers will include:

  • Dr Matthew Goodwin from Northeastern University, Boston, speaking for the first time in the UK on biometric readers and how they are being used to help understand anxiety triggers for people with autism
  • David Fry, chief executive of  Brain in Hand, a brand new assistive technology designed to reduce anxieties for people out and about in the community
  • Dr Ben Robins from the University of Hertfordshire, with Kaspar, a child-sized humanoid robot designed to help teachers and parents support children with autism
  • Yvonne Crowhurst and Yvonne Smith, experts at supporting non-verbal people with autism to find their voices through the use of iPad based communications apps.

Also speaking will be autism champion Dame Stephanie Shirley, named by the Science Council as one of the top 100 practising scientists in the UK, and autism sensory expert Olga Bogdashina.

Conference organiser Wirral Autistic Society is a multi award-winning charity employing over 800 people and attracting attention nationwide for its services, including an innovative employment training scheme for young people with Asperger’s syndrome and a specialist training consultancy, Autism in Practice.

Jane Carolan, operations director at Wirral Autistic Society, said, “The pace at which technology is moving forward is quite incredible. Today’s portable devices, apps and cloud computing are opening up a new world to the people we support.  And who knows where this innovation may lead us. Over the next decade we may even see thought-activated technology, advanced robotics and augmented reality – technologies that we once thought of as science fiction – becoming widely available and affordable.

“Assistive technologies can be truly life-changing and we feel it is part of our mission as an autism charity to ensure everyone has access this information and is part of the debate about how we want to support people with autism in the future.”

Autech 2015 will also feature a market place for delegates and an exhibition of art by people with autism on the theme ‘art and technology’.

For further information and to book places, please visit www.autech2015.co.uk

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