Conference on Cognitive Disability to explore cloud computing, more

Coleman Institute's 10th annual event set for Oct. 21
By Staff

What does cognitive disability have to do with the law, regulatory policy, civil rights, the Internet, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), technology companies, Medicaid, and residential service providers?

The connections will be explored at the Coleman Institute's 10th annual conference, "All Together Now: The Power of Partnerships in Cognitive Disability and Technology," set for Oct. 21 at the Westin Westminster Hotel. The conference agenda and registration, which is free, may be found at

Cognitive disability refers to intellectual and developmental disabilities, acquired brain injury, Alzheimer's disease, and severe and persistent mental illness. These conditions affect more than 20 million Americans and the numbers are growing rapidly as people live longer and as medicine and rehabilitative sciences extend the lives of people with disabilities.

With increasing technological reliance has come a rapidly growing "digital divide" based on technology usability and accessibility, particularly for those with cognitive limitations who may require adaptive personalized modifications and training.


Inside the Coleman Institute

General mission: to catalyze and integrate advances in science, engineering and technology to promote the quality of life and independent living of people with cognitive disabilities

Principal activities: 

Research and development grants and related support to CU faculty and their research partners, and promoting commercialization of derivative intellectual property
The Coleman Institute Fellowship Program for postdoctoral and graduate students and for faculty
The Annual Coleman Institute Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology
Public policy advocacy and outreach on matters pertinent to cognitive disability and technology

Building on the strength of the diverse communities typically represented at past Coleman conferences, the event promises three days of exploration, conversation and coalition-building around critical issues that are relevant to people with cognitive disabilities.

"This year's conference is all about partnerships, networking, and bringing together disparate players to create a dialogue and a series of outcomes around a common thread: the use of technology as a way to enhance quality of life for people with cognitive disabilities," said David Braddock, associate vice president for the CU system and the institute's executive director. "The Coleman Institute's mission is at the core of this gathering of opinion leaders, researchers and those who understand and can impact public policy and law."

Topics include:

Is there a right to technology access? A look at the seminal 1971 federal court case that established the constitutional right of children with developmental disabilities to a public education, presented by the attorney who was its legal champion.

Cloud computing and the implications for people with cognitive disabilities: A full-day, pre-conference workshop Oct. 20 at the University of Colorado at Boulder Law School, "Implications of Cloud Computing for People With Cognitive Disability," hosted by the Coleman Institute in partnership with CU's Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology and Entrepreneurship and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This event is followed by a moderated summative panel at the institute's conference.

Technology advances: Presentations and discussions on hardware, software and application strategies including topics such as accessibility, e-medicine/tele-health, building a broader market for cognitive technologies commercialization, and forming coalitions around common purpose.

Roundtable discussions: Informal, guided dialogues on the use of mobile technologies, smart technologies in residential settings, adoption strategies for direct service providers to embrace technology, social networking as a tool for communication, community building and inclusion, and more.

"Stories That Fill the Empty Places": A creative prose and photographic essay capturing the history of mental disability institutions and the stories of the people who lived there.

Second annual post-conference Technology Leadership Summit: An event for members of the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR), the national association representing private providers of community living and employment support and services to more than 500,000 people with disabilities throughout the United States, and members of the National Council on Community Behavioral Healthcare (NCCBH). The council represents mental health care providers.

Presenters and confirmed key participants in the upcoming events include:

  • Distinguished computer science and engineering faculty from CU and the universities of Rochester, Washington and Wisconsin;
  • Representatives from Microsoft, Oracle, AT&T, CableLabs, AbleLink Technologies, Alsop Louis, and more;
  • Special Counsel for Innovation, Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, from the FCC;
  • Chief Research and Innovations Officer, the Arc of the United States;
  • President, American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities;
  • Deputy assistant secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education;
  • Former chief counsel from the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania's former secretary of education;
  • CU faculty from all campuses, presenting research projects.

For more information and to register for the Institute's 10th annual Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology, please visit