Coffee & registration 9:00 - 9:30

Announcements & Keynote 9:30 - 9:50

Main Sessions

10:00 - 10:30 Robert Bernstein - Girls Education and Disabilities

Robert will be discussing the work of Girls Education in Ghana. This important work is underway through the efforts of Girls Education Initiative Ghana.(GEIG)

Speaker Bio @GirlsEdGh

Robert is the Board Director and US President of GEUG - US and a former long time NYC pedagogue.Additionally, Robert is a journalist that has worked directly with the African Community for the last four years.

10:40 - 11:10 Mark Surabian - Assistive Technology: Solutions for Increasing Learner Independence and Classroom Participation

Remediation and therapy take time, whereas technology compensates immediately to enhance learner confidence and access through actual participation until the impact of the former takes hold. AT is an often an effective solution to keep learners with disabilities "engaged and responsible" for their own classwork and keeps them performing at levels more accurate to their real potential throughout their educational careers. This presenter will briefly discuss why AT is often overlooked as a support to enhance learner participation; describe the challenges of functionally incorporating AT into the classroom as depicted through real case studies; and provide an overview of effective AT tools used for individuals with disabilities.

Speaker Bio @marksurabian

Mark Surabian founded, an assistive technology website and an associated free clinic in NYC which serves children and adults with communication, vision, learning, and physical challenges. He has provided consultation to school systems and agencies on AT for almost 30 years, and is an instructor on Assistive Technologies at Pace University’s Graduate School of Education.

11:20 - 11:50: Erica Zelmanowicz - Common Accessibility Mistakes (and how to avoid them)

What are some common accessibility mistakes and what can you do to avoid them? In this session, we will look at common accessibility mistakes that arise during product development. We will focus on planning and design mistakes as well as specific code examples. We will also discuss ways to avoid common mistakes throughout the product development phase.

Speaker Bio

As SSB BART Group’s Lead Accessibility Training Specialist, Erica brings a unique perspective to the world of accessibility. Erica joined SSB after working for a non-profit organization where she provided assistive technology training and evaluations for individuals with disabilities, ages 3-93. Over the years, Erica has worked with many individuals and organizations to help evangelize accessibility. Erica holds a B.S. in Speech and Hearing Sciences from the University of Illinois and an M.Ed. from Arcadia University.

12:00 - 12:30: Adina Halter - Holy Grail Patterns

Accessible Autocomplete. Accessible Bar Graphs. These are some of the "Holy Grails" of accessible patterns. 2-3 years in the making, solutions to these conundrums have caused me many a sleepless night. I will share my final patterns with you so that you can get a good night's sleep.

Speaker Bio @haltersweb

Adina is Sr. Product Manager and Chief Technologist for Accessibility at Comcast with 20 years of experience in web design and development. Adina has a passion for emerging technologies, accessibility practices, responsive design, and elegant code. She also loves theater, wine, Magic the Gathering, and Texas Hold’em. Adina lives in Villanova, PA with her husband, a corporate accountant and two wonderful high-school children.

12:30 - 1:30: LUNCH!

1:40 - 2:10: Luis Garcia - Accessibility Tools Crash Course

Accessibility experts use automated tools to help them inspect sites every day. Luis brings us a crash course of how he uses 4 freely available tools used by accesibility professionals. Slide Deck

Speaker Bio @garcialo

Luis Garcia is a Senior Product Manager for Accessibility at eBay. In his spare time, he participates at Accessibility Camps, evangelizes accessibility to anyone that will listen, and works on various accessibility related side projects. He sometimes plays video games.

2:20 - 2:50: Phoebe Fico - Access Your Humanity

While we have come along way in terms of access, I believe that there is one fundamental thing that we are missing when we speak about it: That we are making things accessible for humans. The access that we currently have is acceptable, but it does not make us feel like people. Through this access we are segregated from mainstream society. In this talk, I will give example of how the current access does this and offer up solutions as to how were can humanize disability access.

Speaker Bio


"When I first went away to college, I had an extremely difficult time getting around campus because of the terrain and snow. I thought my body was the problem. So, I became depressed. So, severely depressed that I didn’t go to class and I almost failed out of school. What I would learn was that that their were systematic barriers at the school—and in the world— that set me up to fail. So, when I came back to school for my sophomore year, I got angry instead of sad and I started a branch of undergraduate government dedicated to students with physical disabilities (the first of its kind at the school and still going strong today). With the branch of government, I started support groups and one-on-one counseling. So that students could discuss their frustrations and feelings about being disabled in a safe space. I also organized speakers to come and tell their stories or educate the student body on important issues facing the disabled community. The speakers included comedian Zach Anner, creator of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, Pete and Nancy Frates and trans and disability activist, Eli Clare. Also as founder and chair of the branch of government, I spoke to the administration and faculty about the systematic challenges students faced like lack of accessible transportation on campus, lack of accessible syllabi and integrating disability into the conversation about a diverse student body. Outside of the council, I was a member of the Gay and Lesbian Council and spoke at many panels on the bisexual experience and the queer black experience. I also participated and helped organize Black Lives Matter protests on campus. "

3:00 - 3:30: Michele Friedner and Jamie Osborne - Accessing the Black Box of Accessibility?: Notes from Research in India

We are a medical anthropologist (Michele) and a city planner (Jamie) who work in urban India. In this talk we discuss both state and civil society efforts to advance "accessibility" of the built environment in India and we critically engage with what it means to label something "accessible" or "inaccessible." We draw on ethnographic and policy research and practice in order to argue that the concept of accessibility needs to be nuanced.

Speaker Bios

Michele Friedner is an assistant professor at Stony Brook University in the School of Health Technology and Management.

Jamie Osborne is a city and transit planner working at New York City Department of Transportation.

3:40 - 4:10: Patrick Smyth - Blind Hackers

"When encountering an inaccessible product or design, our first—and often most productive—response includes increasing awareness through outreach and education. But what about when these efforts aren't successful, and the need for access remains? This session is about eyes-free accessibility through the back door, focusing on members of the blind and low vision community that have scraped, soldered, coded, cracked, or hacked their way to accessing otherwise inaccessible designs. From talking Linux and dodging ebook DRM to eyes-free Pokemon, this talk will discuss the ingenuity and persistence of the blind community while opening a dialogue about the ethics of access. Come prepared to play—attendees will have the opportunity to interact with some of these approaches during the talk."

Speaker Bio @psmyth01

Patrick Smyth is a Ph.D. student in English and Digital Fellow at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He is a developer for DH Box, an NEH-funded project to make the digital humanities more widely accessible, and recently led curriculum design for the Digital Research Institute, a week-long intensive course in digital methods at the Graduate Center. Patrick writes about digital platforms, especially those facilitating new modes of reading. He's also an inveterate tinkerer, and recently released a simple screen reader written in the Lisp programming language. Patrick is a former Fulbright Fellow, and teaches at Queens College.

4:20 - 4:50: Whitney Quesenbery - Accessible elections (design for democracy)

What's the state of the art on accessible elections? We'll look at work to make information about voting easier to read and accessible for all - from voter registration to voter guides to voting systems. There are some great developments towards the promise of the Help America Vote Act, and places where good advocacy is still needed. I'll end with some ideas for how you can make elections more accessible and be an effective self-advocate.

Speaker Bio @civicdesign @whitneyq

Whitney is co-director for the Center for Civic Design, which wants every interaction with government to be an easy, effective experience. The Center is the home of the Field Guides to Ensuring Voter Intent, the Anywhere Ballot. Current research projects include work on ways to make information more accessible for all. She also teaches user research at Rutgers, and is the author of three books: A Web for Everyone, Global UX, and Storytelling for User Experience.

4:50 - 5:00: Thomas & Cameron - Closing remarks