ACCESSIBILITY - Tuesday 13 August

  • Isabel Amaral (keynote)

    Isabel Amaral (keynote)
    Consultant/Family Member

    Isabel Amaral is a retired Professor from the School of Health of the Polytechnics Institute of Setubal in Portugal. She is involved in projects related to developing quality services and training teachers for children with congenital deafblindness and multiple disabilities including visual impairments. She has been consulting for Perkins International in several projects.

  • Dr Namita Jacob

    Dr Namita Jacob
    Executive Director, Chetana Trust

    Dr Namita Jacob is Program Director, Chetana Trust, Chennai and Director, Enability, a nonprofit company developing assistive technology solutions responsive to the needs of the developing world. She is the Asia Pacific Region, Senior Education Specialist for Perkins International, Perkins School for the Blind, USA. She designs and develops services at the community level, within hospitals, schools and orphanages across Asia and the Middle East and helped establish some of the earliest comprehensive services for children with complex sensory impairment in India. Her work includes guiding research, creating teacher development programs and resources for individuals with disabilities, their families and professionals who serve them. 

  • Maria Aparecida Nina Cormedi

    Maria Aparecida Nina Cormedi
    Director, Comunicatividade.com

    She has been a clinical and educational speech therapist for 35 years with people with deafblindness and multiple disabilities. She is currently a consultant on inclusive education and alternative communication, working with people with complex communication needs and their families. She is the proprietary director of Comunicatividade.com, a platform that offers online courses in the areas of language, communication, learning and inclusion.

    She has been university professor in Brazil for 15 years and she is currently tutor of a specialization course on inclusive education and multiple disabilities in Argentina and Ecuador.

    She worked as Educational Consultant for Latin America and the Caribbean by Perkins International visiting deafblind services in different countries, such as: Argentina, Uruguay, Cuba, Chile, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Bolivia.
    She was technical director of NGO in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for 15 years (2000-2014). She has worked closely with people, with deafblindness and multiple disabilities, their families and teacher training and collaborative teamwork as well as.

    She has Post PhD in Education, Art and Culture by Mackenzie Presbyterian University. PhD in Education by University of São Paulo. Master in Developmental Disorders. Specialization in Deafness and Visual Impairment. Proficiency in Cortical Visual Impairment- CVI Range. Special Education of Visually Handicapped and Multiply Handicapped Children and Youth, Perkins School for the Blind, USA. ELP.

    Member International Society for Augmentation / Alternative Communication - ISAAC. 

    She has published book chapters on alternative communication, multiple disabilities and deafblindness


  • Christopher Woodfill

    Christopher Woodfill
    Associate Exectuive Director, Helen Keller National Center

    Chris is DeafBlind with Usher Syndrome type 1. He has worked at Helen Keller National Center for seven years and has been its Associate Executive Director for five. He is currently serving a second term as the North American region representative for the World Federation of the DeafBlind. He served on the board of American Association of the DeafBlind for almost a decade until last year. He is one of the administrators of the DeafBlind Thoughts, a Facebook group open to only the DeafBlind. Before working at Helen Keller National Center, he worked for thirteen years as a high school teacher at Wisconsin School for the Deaf. He also worked for three years as English as Second Language instructor at Gallaudet University. He holds a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the George Washington University and a Master degree in Bilingual-Bicultural Deaf Education from McDaniel College. Want to know more, feel free to ask Chris!

COMMUNICATION - Wednesday 14 August

  • Jacqui Martin (keynote)

    Jacqui Martin (keynote)
    COO & Senior Consultant, Langley Group

    Jacqui Martin is a dynamic facilitator and consultant, with extensive experience across education, government and corporate clients.  She is an expert communicator and is passionate about building teams and capability through transforming the way people engage and connect in the workplace.

    Senior executive roles in government and higher education have equipped Jacqui with the experience and understanding necessary to work with complex, multi-layered, and sensitive organisations.  She connects quickly and easily with people and her previous experience as a teacher means she is an excellent communicator.

    As an Executive Director, Jacqui built high performing, results-driven teams, undertook complex functional restructures, and managed all aspects of executive requirements such as strategy, budget, human resources, risk and people development. Jacqui has also worked in project management in innovative service delivery, communications and marketing, as well as spearheading the development of new entities such as The Training Consortium for the Tasmanian Government.

    Jacqui has been recognised with awards for brand, engagement, and communications, initiatives.  She has a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Education from the University of Tasmania, and has completed the Company Directors accreditation course. She is a past Member of the Committee of Management for the Change Management Institute of Australia (Victorian chapter), and past Deputy Chair and Board Member of Engagement Australia (for Universities and Community Engagement). Jacqui is also a master trainer in Strengths Profile and is accredited in MSCEIT and i4 Neuroleader.

  • Atsushi Mori

    Atsushi Mori
    Board Member, Tokyo Friendship Society of the Deafblind, International Cooperation Committee Member, Japan Deafblind Association

    My name is Atsushi Mori. I am deafblind since I was born. I am 27 years old. My communication methods are tactile sign language, Finger-Braille and Communication Board. Currently, I am studying in the graduate school of the Tsukuba University of Technology majoring Information and Communication Accessibility.

    When I was 3 years old, I started to go to the pre-school for children with hard-of-hearing. I started elementary school when I was 6 years old at the local school for the deaf, but moved to the National School for the Blind in Tokyo when I was 10 years old. I entered regular college when I was in 19 years old and graduate school since 25 years old.

    I would like to contribute to planning and building a secure and comfortable living environment for persons with deafblindness in Japan. 

  • Heather Lawson

    Heather Lawson
    President, Deafblind Australia & Member, Deafblind Victorians

    Heather Lawson has Usher Syndrome Type 1 and communicates through tactile Auslan and braille. She works as a voluntary deafblind advocate, mentor and trainer, and was employed by Able Australia on the Deafblind Orientation and Mobility Project as an expert adviser. Heather is one of the founding members of Deafblind Victoria a state based self-advocacy group. She has done as community educator to various fields over many years. Heather is currently the president of the Deafblind Australia.


  • Linda Hagood

    Linda Hagood
    Washington State School for the Blind

    Linda Hagood works as a speech language pathologist at Washington State School for the Blind and is a doctoral student in educational leadership attending Portland State University. Since obtaining her Master’s degree in Speech Communication in 1985 from the University of Texas at Austin, she has provided both direct and consultative services to support children and adolescents at schools for the blind, public schools, and in private practice. She has developed specialized skills in the areas of autism and visual impairment, and is pursuing research on interventions to support social communication with this population. Linda is the author of two communication guides for teachers of students with visual and multiple impairments, both published through Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She frequently presents her work at professional conferences nationally and internationally, and teaches an online course for Perkins School for the Blind on the topic of autism and visual impairment.  

TECHNOLOGY - Thursday 15 August

  • Wayne Hawkins

    Wayne Hawkins
    Disability Policy Advisor, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network

    Wayne Hawkins is Director of Inclusion with the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).joined ACCAN in 2010 as Disability Policy Advisor, and has led ACCAN’s work on telecommunications access for consumers with disability, telecommunications affordability and emergency services.  Prior to joining ACCAN Wayne was National Policy officer with Blind Citizens Australia. Wayne is a doctoral candidate at Sydney University researching Australian telecommunications and disability policies. Wayne has a Master in Public Policy from Sydney University and a Bachelors of Business Administration from City University of New York. Wayne has been blind since 2005 as a result of Retinitis Pigmentosa.

  • Greg Alchin

    Greg Alchin
    Inclusive Design Consultant, All Equal

    Greg Alchin is an award-winning inclusive design consultant, author, educator and speaker with over 30 years’ experience across education, community, commercial and government contexts. This rich and diverse experience enables Greg to translate and apply invaluable insights from one context to another. Greg’s own visual impairment as well as his industry certification by Apple, Microsoft and the International Association of Accessibility Professionals, combined with his post graduate studies in accessibility, enable Greg to speak with authenticity and authority. Greg’s recent work has seen him collaborate with the United Nations, Centre for Inclusive Design, Assistive Technology Industry Association, Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, Royal Society for the Blind, Audit Office of NSW, Australian Publishing Association, as well as educational institutions across Australia.

  • Anindya Bhattacharyya

    Anindya Bhattacharyya
    Bapin Group

    I am totally DeafBlind and currently work as the coordinator of the National Outreach Technology Development and Training Program at the Helen Keller National Center (HKNC) based in NY, but have a branch office in California. My responsibilities involve 1) training consumers and technology trainers from all over the nation who have a wide range of vision and hearing loss to use computers via braille access, screen magnification, and speech output, 2) evaluating and beta testing various Windows- and Mac OS X-based applications, prototypes of new products, and telecommunications equipment and services for people with access needs, and 3) communicating with key people involved with designing and manufacturing these products to ensure they are accessible, user-friendly, and cost-efficient.

    I am also in charge of the Florida and Iowa DeafBlind equipment distribution programs and travel back and forth between these states every 2-3 months to provide technology assessments, distribute equipment, and training to all eligible consumers. In addition, I am responsible for researching, purchasing equipment, and installing and configuring equipment prior to distribution.

    On the side, I run a digital online store business and am the chief executive officer of the company, Bapin Group, LLC. The company sells all digital products to customers with all kinds of backgrounds, as well as to educational and government establishments. For details, go to the website at www.bapingroup.com and my personal website is www.bapin.info. I also founded the first-known International DeafBlind Expo to serve as a venue for DeafBlind attendees to touch and feel various products and have access to interacting with vendors. Also, many professionals, government officials, educators, business people, etc. are enriched by the experience of interacting with DeafBlind people and learning more about products and services they rely on in their daily life. Two expos took place – Las Vegas in 2014 and Orlando in 2016.

    I am a member of the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) to make contributions and monitor legislative activities that improve accessibility for people with disabilities including DeafBlindness. In 2010 I, along with a representative from American Association of the DeafBlind (AADB), met with several members of Congress to push the passage of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act where 10 million dollars was designated for DeafBlind people to receive telecommunications equipment and services. I also served on the 2010-2014 Equipment Program Advisory Committee (EPAC) under Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP) in California to ensure that DeafBlind Californians receive adequate telecommunications equipment and services.