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RESNA 2018

Friday 03, Aug 2018

RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America) RESNA’s Annual Conference was held in Arlington, Virginia. RESNA 2018 was the first conference in which an ARATA President was an invited speaker. Read on for more details including :

  • ARATA’s Presentation, and the graphic which RESNA couldn’t get enough of
  • Certification and Accreditation in North America and beyond

RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Association of North America) has over 1,200 members and is a sister organisation to ARATA.

ARATA’s Presentation

As ARATA President, Natasha Layton was invited to speak on the plenary International Panel - click here to view the presentation.

Feedback on the presentation, and ARATA”s work, was very positive. ARATA, despite our small population and geographical distance, are indeed holding their own on the international stage. RESNA attendees were interested in our NDIS, ARATA’s policy approaches to embedding AT into funding reforms, our focus on the AT user, and also our approach to including universally designed and mainstreamed assistive products into the world of AT. The following graphic generated many requests for copies.

Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy Lynn Gitlow of Ithaca College, New York, emailed: ‘It was great to meet you in person at RESNA.  I am writing to ask you to share you slides from your plenary talk. There was a graphic in that presentation which showed the full range of assistive and everyday technology in concentric circles or ovals that I thought was brilliant. I would love to be able to use it in materials that I prepare to describe the full range of AT - So many times I think that people only think of high tec options when describing or thinking about AT options and there is so much more’

Liaison opportunities included the RESNA Board meetings, Special Interest Groups and Professional Specialty Groups, and meetings on the AT Practitioner training and accreditation courses offered by RESNA and now running internationally. ARATA were able to discuss AT curricula with a number of American and Canadian universities, and also meet with funders with the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) who fund significant US research and are interested in outreach discussions.

The international connections continued as Incoming President of RESKO (Korea) Dr Inhuyk Moon was also in attendance, and with Professor Roger Smith (RESNA President) also being present, a meeting of the International Alliance of AT Professional Organisations was held. Together, the Alliance are contributing to GATE planning, and discussing co-ordination of international events on AT, as well as planning our next publication.

ARATA have joined the RESNA International Special Interest Group: over 12 nationalities were represented, and discussions included the role of AT suppliers, educators, users and policymakers in low and middle income countries. Key issues were translatability of training, cultural and contextually relevant training, products and services, and ways in which AT suppliers can meet needs in low income settings.

RESNA’s actions on recognition and delivery of AT continuing education

ARATA members may know that RESNA have run Assistive Technology Certification Training for many years.  A revised curriculum, applicable beyond the North American contex, is now being translated into other languages and run internationally.

Certification needs to be maintained and reaffirmed every two years, and the availability of relevant training is of course key to this. TO that end, RESNA have more recently engaged with the AMA based Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs who have endorsed RESNA to recognise institutions which maintain standards required for its graduates to be deemed recipients of higher education or to achieve credentials for higher practice. Launched in 2017, the Committee on Accreditation for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Education (CoA-RATE) evaluates and accredits institutions offering AT training. CoA-RATE Accredited Programs are listed on the RESNA site. To be eligible for CoA RATE review, interested programs must submit the Request for Accreditation Services.

Discussions were held as to what this range of accreditation and certification activities may offer Australia in our current policy context, particularly in light of the NDIS Sector Development-funded ATSA / ARATA paper: Options Paper for a National Accreditation System for Assistive Technology Prescribers and Suppliers. Summers, M., & Walker, L. (2013) Parramatta, Australia.

ARATA presentation slide on AT outcomes


ARATA President Dr Layton and Professor Vanderheiden father of WCAG1


ARATA President presents to RESNA


Brazil, UK and Australia with RESNA CEO


Dr Jaeger NIDILRR refers to ARATA


Dr Roger O Smith, RESNA President, opens exhibition


International Special Interest Group


Q and A at RESNA business meeting


RESNA Developers Forum


University of Washington use Australian disability theorist Stella Young