Experiencing online social networks with #cerebralpalsy at #ASSETS10

After a highly enjoyable, yet lengthy, process of collecting interview data that investigated computer, internet and online communication use among adults, age 18 and above, with cerebral palsy (2009/10). I began the publication process (central to all PhDer’s) consisting of countless presentations, seminars, talks, round table discussions etc. however an “academic” conference paper was proving illusive. Until July, when I was presently surprised that my work on motor disabilities concerning accessible social media appeared to intrigue #ASSETS10 (The 12th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility). I was awarded an ACM SIGACCESS Scholarship to attend the conference and my poster paper “cerebral palsy and online social networks” was accepted. This coming Monday (25 October 2010) during poster session 1, I will be presenting a poster concerning my 2009/10 study, were I will discuss:

… the experiences and challenges faced when people with cerebral palsy use online social networks (OSNs). Fourteen interviews were carried out consisting of participants with different types of cerebral palsy. The study identified the reasons for use and non-use and also discovered key themes together with challenges that affected their experiences. For example abrupt and frequently changing online social networks were reported to slow down or prevent use… In spite of this, participants reported that OSNs were a vital way to communicate, and even though these themes and challenges are occurring, they indicated the technology would continue to play a vital role within their lives. To read more about my work please go to: http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1878803.1878852

ASSETS10 Cerebral Palsy and Online Social Networks Poster
#ASSETS10 Cerebral Palsy and Online Social Networks Poster

As #ASSETS10 appears to promote itself as a forum concerning “computing and information technologies to help persons with disabilities and older adults” I look forward to engaging with said community through discussions, innovative demonstrations and hopefully “engaging” presentations.

A follow-up blog to follow, watch this space.

iPad, can it benefit the cerebral palsy community? (@cityuni_hcid Demo Session)

Centre HCID using iPad
@cityuni_hcid researchers trying out Tap Tap Radiation

With a To-Do list that increases daily,  I often demote tasks that aren’t directly related to my PhD, unfortunately this has been one of those tasks. I was asked to write a blog about a demo session I ran at @cityuni_hcid on 8th June 2010, better later than never I guess.

— On May 28th 2010 I brought my iPad to @cityuni_hcid were it sparked considerable interest, I suspect it was because at the time it was one of the very few within @CityUniLondon. For the next week I found myself answering the same questions: what do you use it for? what sort of apps are available? is it worth spending £427+?. As a result, I decided to run a small demo session inviting @cityuni_hcid researchers to try the iPad and ask questions all in one go.

To ensure the session was interesting, esp. for researchers waiting to use the device,  the following was asked: iPad, can it benefit the cerebral palsy community?. It’s purpose was to enable the researchers to identify potential apps and or areas the iPad could be used to benefit users with cerebral palsy. To stimulate discussion I carried out an impromptu study that observed 2 iPad users with cerebral palsy. Photos and video clips were recorded via my iPhone 3GS and littered throughout the @cinterationlab. Unsurprisingly, the video clips appeared to encourage discussion more so than the photo’s, so I thought I would share it with you…

(Right) Photo's of the 2 iPad users with cerebral palsy using various apps and iPad accessories. (Left) A list of some of the discussed benefits.

Some of the benefits identified included: rehabilitation e.g. PocketPond app increased dexterity over the course of the observation; eLearning e.g. iBooks app and Memory Cards app provided independent learning; independent input especially when shopping (inbuilt Safari) and communicating was discussed by both participants as key to their iPad use; arts e.g. Granimator app  provided creativity and obviously entertainment e.g. Need for Speed Shift app.

There are many other benefits discussed and considerably a lot more that I can think of now, but it would be interesting to know what you think: iPad, can it benefit the cerebral palsy community?. Please feel free to leave a comment.