Map of New Zealand and Palmerston
College of Education Faculty and Officials from India Continue Information Dissemination
In November 2011, The Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Sensory Disabilities and the Rehabilitation Council of India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). One of the purposes of this MOU was for faculty and staff from TTU and India to exchange and disseminate information with others professionals serving people with disabilities. Since 2011, representatives from the Rehabilitation Council of India and the TTU College of Education have traveled to India and Lubbock to lecture, attend conferences, and to discuss future grant ideas and research activities.
Presentation in India Demonstrates Commitment to MOU
In March 2012, Drs. Nora Griffin-Shirley and Devender Banda travelled to India to present at the India Association for Rehabilitation Professionals (IARP) Annual Conference, Global Commitments towards Inclusive Development of Persons with Disabilities, in New Delhi.
Dr. Griffin-Shirley conducted a pre-conference titled, Early Childhood Interventions for Students with Visual Impairments and Additional Disabilities; and Dr. Banda did post-conference presentation entitled, Evidence-based Strategies for Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Over 80 people attended the pre- and post-conferences, while 300 participants from Southeast Asia and Brazil were in attendance at the IARP conference.
Since Drs. Banda and Griffin-Shirley serve on TTU International Cultural Center’s Sub-committee for recruitment of Indian students, they developed a list of prospective doctoral students for the Colleges Special Education Program. Additionally, Indian faculty members were identified who are interested in writing a grant proposal to the US-India Education Foundation in New Delhi for faculty/student exchanges and professional development for junior faculty.
Dr. Griffin-Shirley and Mr. Rajesh Singh Continue MOU Commitment in New Zealand
Continuing this commitment for information dissemination, Dr. Nora Griffin-Shirley and Mr. Rajesh Singh, Assistant Evaluator at Amity University in New Delhi, attended the International Mobility Conference 14, Mobility through the Ages, Up Over and Down Under in Palmerston North, New Zealand, February 13 to 16, 2012.
This conference was attended by 230 orientation and mobility specialists and other professionals working with people with visual impairments, representing 30 countries from around the world.
Presentation by Dr. Griffin-Shirley and Mr. Rajesh Singh
At this conference, Dr. Griffin-Shirley and Mr. Singh presented “Travel of Older Pedestrians with Visual Impairment in the US and India: An Overview.” The presentation addressed:
· The ways older pedestrians who are visually impaired travel in both countries based on their belief systems,
· The types of assistive technology older pedestrians who are visually impaired use to enhance their orientation and mobility while traveling, and
· The common challenges and barriers older pedestrians who are visually impaired face when they travel within the built environments, and plausible solutions to
As part of this presentation, Dr. Shree Ram Mittal, a professor from the University of Delhi who is blind, and Mrs. Sandy Rogers, a person with low vision from West Texas, shared their responses to the above-mentioned topics.
The assistive technology commonly used in both countries by individuals who are traveling with blindness were the human guide, the cane, the mobile phone with a GPS, and other phone applications. Environmental barriers are funding for services and equipment, travel in rural areas, and the attitude of society toward their disability. These are common challenges impeding independent travel.
Additionally, they discussed the need for: (a) collaboration between the agencies serving older adults, the rehabilitation programs for individuals with low vision and blindness, and the medical system; (b) increased funding for services and equipment (e.g., low vision evaluation and devices); (c) increased advocacy efforts by older adults with low vision and professionals serving them for more services, funding, and research.
In the future, continued efforts will be made to collaborate with the Rehabilitation Council of India and the Sowell Center for the benefit of both countries.
Contributed by Nora Griffin-Shirley