Power Up conference explores technology for people with disabilities

Apr 16, 2013

The Power Up Expo takes place April 15-16, 2013, in Columbia, MO.
Credit Michael Losch / KBIA

New technology that can assist the disabled is rapidly developing, and a conference in Columbia this week is putting a spotlight on that technology. 

About 500 people, including educators and disability advocates are gathered at this week’s Power Up 2013 Conference and Expo to explore how technology can help in the everyday lives of the disabled.  The conference, taking place at Columbia’s Holiday Inn Executive Center, features 62 different presentations about devices to help people with a range of disabilities. 

Jennifer Kaufmann teaches children with visual impairments for St. Louis County’s Special School District.  She attended a session on how iPads can help her teaching and she says she is eager to bring her new knowledge to the classroom: “We’re starting to incorporate that into the curriculum and just, basically, kids are interested in learning how it can help them in their school day,” she said.

Marty Exline is the director of Missouri Assistive Technology. He says there are a number of ways that technology can help those with various disabilities: “It could be anything from communication devices for somebody that has some type of speech impairment, it could hearing devices for somebody with a hearing impairment, adaptive computer software for somebody that can’t see a computer screen.”

Participants can attend sessions on assistive technology for the blind and learn about technology to aid with the transition out of high school.  They can also get tips on how to raise money to afford assistive devices.  The conference ends today with a speech from comedian Juli Burney.