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4th European eAccessibility Forum

eAccessibility of Public Services in Europe

12/04/2010, 9:00 - 18:00
Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie - Paris, France

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Higher education ICT programs for promoting employability of students with disability

Licia SBATTELLA (Milano (Italy))
Politecnico di Milano - G3ict Program Committee Member

Speaker's information

photo de Licia Sbattella

Bioengineer, Clinical Psychologist, and Musicians holds a PhD in Computer Science.

Associate Professor of  “Natural Language Processing" and "ICT for Disability" at Politecnico di Milano (I) and at Universita' della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano (CH).

Member of the Steering Committee and Chair of the Education Task Force of G3ict, a Flaghship  Advocacy Initiative of the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development (www.g3ict.com)

President’s Delegate for Disability at Politecnico di Milano.

Since 1998, leaders of national and international research projects and author of scientific papers on Multimedia and Multimodale Interaction and Communication and enhanced strategies for Cognitive and Sensorial Disabilities. Coauthor of the book “The Art and Science of Computing”, Addison Wesley, 1997.

Scientific Director of Esagramma (www.esagramma.net ), a Rehabilitation Centre specialized on Music and New Technologies for Cognitive and Mental Disorders. From 1998 to 2008 Conductor of the Esagramma Symphony Orchestra [special concerts: ‘Giubileo con i Disabili’ (2000), at the European Parleament (2003), ‘Agorà dei Giovani’ (2007)]. Author of “La Mente Orchestra. Elaborazione della risonanza e autismo”. Vita e Pensiero, 2006.



Notice : The short papers of this conference have been prepared by BrailleNet who accept any responsibility for them. But presentation materials provided for download (full-papers or slides) have been provided by the authors themselves.

Everybody knows the importance, in adult life, of becoming an expert to exercise specific responsibilities in different social contexts.

The campus is a small but complex and significant social context where people study, teach, work, cooperate, communicate,  research. Many persons in a campus cooperate with different abilities and disabilities and everybody can experience autonomous and cooperative dimensions possibly supported by innovative strategies.

Academia is a  “special land” which allows  protected but strategic relationships  between learning and professional environments (i.e. schools / enterprises), social and cultural dimensions, private and public contexts, governmental and non-governmental partners.

If you consider a scientific and technological university you can also imagine the role it can play in promoting the applied research for:  - ICT accessibility and innovation; - the analysis of the real impact of ICT and  Assistive Technology and better evaluation of their efficiency; - the harmony between human and technological strategies; - a ‘daily’ confidence with ICT and Assistive Technology.

At Politecnico di Milano, MultiChancePoliTeam is the group of specialists which guarantees services to students with disabilities (www.polimi.it/disabilita).

In Italy, a special Law (number 17/99) guarantees financial supports to organize special services to make the academic life more and more accessible. Each university receives funds in relationships to the number of students with disability, the special projects which support them in studying and facing the first employment experiences. CNUDD groups the Dean’s Delegate for Disability of each university allowing them coordination, global policies and exchange of innovative strategies.

The MultiChancePoliTeam guarantees services to the students with disability:

-  A psycho-educational counseling

-  University attendance support (admission test, tutoring, personalized examinations, accessibility to the campus, administrative, accommodation and studying supports)

-  Teaching aids: conditions specifically suited to maximize the benefit of classroom and laboratory work by means of personalized and innovative technological teaching aids (Text To Speech & Automatic Speech Recognition technologies)

-  Technological aids (HW and SW solutions for personal needs)

-  The Wireless Campus allows a personalized fruition of classrooms and laboratory activities, Internet and local services, ….

-  Distance Learning (only when strictly needed)

-  Employment Support and International mobility

-  Multimodal fruition of lectures (recorded and converted) and multimodal cooperation

-  Natural Language processing for Dyslexia (to study a foreign language, to prepare and use accessible versions of admission tests, to face language complexity)

Special projects are specifically related to the topic.

An Observatory on Accessible ICT and Disability has been created on 2007. A team of experts (computer scientists of the ICT Institute,   experts on management  and members of non-governmental partners) cooperate:

- to monitor the employment (but not only) of people with disabilities;

- to share information on (and promote) innovative ICT ;

- to maintain an academic, public and private sectors networks.

Ubicampus, is an applied project which promotes the use of wireless technology to navigate and explore the  campus, to reach a  complete accessibility of global and local information (often daily changing), to communicate with  the other protagonists of the academic life, to handle emergencies, to learn and study.

Autonoma-mente is another innovative project which  technologically supports independent life and communication.

Multimodality, Natural Language Processing and Brain Computer Interfaces are also used to create innovative Human Computer Interfaces and special applications for students with Dyslexia, learning, cognitive or relational impairments.

Special results have been obtained on Employment. If you consider students with disabilities with technical degrees (engineer, Architecture, and Industrial Design) from Politecnico di Milano we obtained a  0% unemployment rate over 7 years. The first year of employment is always supported by the University with government funds.  All students, once they have experienced good assistive technologies during their academic studies,  keep using it for their private and professional lives. Special programs help employers better adapt the work environment to persons with disabilities.


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