Last call to register for Coleman Conference

Cognitive disability and technology in focus at daylong event
By Staff

Registration is nearing capacity for the 14th annual Coleman Institute Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology, set for Oct. 9 at the Omni Interlocken Hotel in Broomfield, with more than 500 people already signed up.

There is no registration fee for the conference. See the agenda here. Deadline to register is Friday.

This year’s focus will be on the far-reaching implications of the Institute’s nationally significant initiative, The Declaration of the Rights of People With Cognitive Disabilities to Technology and Information Access ( The Declaration, launched at the 2013 Coleman Conference, has been endorsed by several hundred of the most widely respected disability organizations across the country. In March, Colorado became the first state to endorse The Declaration by a joint resolution of the Colorado Legislature.  

“The Declaration is a statement of principles acknowledging the rapid advancements in and cultural adoption of information technologies and our societal obligation to provide equal opportunity and inclusion of people with cognitive disabilities,” said David Braddock, senior associate vice president, University of Colorado, executive director of the Coleman Institute, and professor of psychiatry. The importance of The Declaration, the challenges and practical barriers to be faced, and how to move forward will all be addressed by a variety of speakers throughout the day.

In addition, conference speakers will discuss Web accessibility; cognitive disabilities and technology as it pertains to individual and family supports, employment, and health solutions; and legal and policy challenges for inclusion, among other themes.

Featured speakers include:

Susan L. Parish, Ph.D., MSW; Nancy Lurie Marks Professor of Disability Policy; director, Lurie Institute for Disability Policy; associate dean for research, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University: An Empirical Portrait of Families and Developmental Disabilities in the US

Maja Matarić, Ph.D.; professor and Shan Soon-Shiong Chair in Computer Science, Neuroscience and Pediatrics; vice dean for research, Viterbi School of Engineering; director, Robotics and Autonomous Systems Center, University of Southern California: Socially Assistive Robotics:  Future Directions in Personalized Rehabilitation and Care

Peter Blanck, Ph.D., J.D., university professor, chairman, Burton Blatt Institute, Syracuse University: “eQuality:  The Struggle for Web Accessibility by People With Cognitive Disabilities” (presentation by the author on the Coleman Institute commissioned new Cambridge University Press book);

Sharon Lewis, principal deputy administrator of the Administration for Community Living and Senior Advisor to the Health and Human Services’ Secretary on Disability Policy and Frances W. West, IBM Chief Accessibility Officer, who are among the invited participants in an Institute-organized workgroup at the conference to discuss: “a public-private partnership to develop and carry out a research agenda for strategic improvements in access to information for people with disabilities.”

More than 50 other speakers and presenters will address topics related to cognitive disability and technology. The closing “fireside chat” will be an unscripted dialogue among prominent representatives of academia, government and industry sharing their thoughts and insights.

The Coleman Conferences bring together faculty and students, engineers, computer and social scientists, clinicians, policy leaders, administrators, service providers, community advocates and families to explore how technology can improve the quality of life for people with cognitive disabilities. These conferences are an important opportunity to advance the understanding of new research, to engage colleagues, and to increase awareness of technology-related issues affecting people with cognitive disabilities and their families.

For more information about the Coleman Institute, the Declaration, and links to previous speaker presentations, visit