For Release Upon Receipt - February 16, 2007
The Disability Studies Initiative, Department of Behavioural Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, The University of the West Indies hosted a workshop entitled, “Research and Disability” on Thursday 7 December 2006 at the Marriott Hotel, Trinidad. The workshop formed part of the Regional Conference hosted by Trinidad and Tobago Chapter of Disabled Peoples’ International from December 4th-9th, 2006, which brought together many persons involved in the field of disability locally, regionally and internationally.
Professor Adrienne Asch, who is the Henry R. Luce Professor in Biology, Ethics, and the Politics of Human Reproduction at Wellesley College, was the guest speaker at the workshop. Professor Asch, who is blind, presented a thought provoking paper on Research and Persons with Disabilities. Two noteworthy points made were that “research has shown that most people with disabilities view life the same way as people without disabilities” and that “there was great importance for disability research that concentrated on the factors which aid people with disabilities in overcoming discrimination, finding gainful employment, starting families and other successful yet simple life endeavours.”
The workshop also featured a panel discussion on various issues of disability by various speakers, including Professor Richard Scotch from the University of Texas, Professor Gerard Hutchinson UWI, Dr. Adele Jones, UWI and Ms. Natalie Brown of the Ministry of Education. In addition to being exposed to a wealth of information, workshop participants were also able to contribute to the identification of research needs in the region in pertinent areas such as Human Rights and Education.
One of the highlights of the workshop was the official launch of the Disability Studies website by Dr. Hamid Ghany, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. The Unit also took the opportunity to distribute a Working Paper entitled “Fostering Inclusiveness for Persons with Disabilities into Tertiary Education”, which was published by the Behavioural Science Research Series.In general, the workshop was a success and it is hoped that it will contribute to the development of the Disability Studies Initiative as a centre of teaching and research in the area of Disability Studies at The University of the West Indies. Plans are underway for the publication of a report on “Research and Disability” based on the Caribbean experience.
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