Prof. Chris Oliver’s main areas of research are the study of the relations between genetics and behavior, as well as emotional and mental behavioral problems in children and adults with severe intellectual disabilities, and expressions of challenging behaviors in people with neurodevelopmental disorders.
In his lecture he describes personality traits typical of people with challenging behaviors and presents a model of challenging behavior which recognizes both these traits and environmental influences.
In his lecture, Prof. Emerson from the Center for Health and Disabilities Research, Lancaster University, UK, exposes the influences of environmental stress on people with intellectual disabilities, and presents possibilities for research, policy and work.
Stan Goldman’s lecture describes the activities and vision of the Weinberg Foundation, which supports “elective communities”, designed to allow people with disabilities to choose their place and form of residence. The lecture describes examples of the success of this approach in the US and in Israel.
As the Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities was established, six hundred and fifty million people changed status, from “object of charity” to a status of people with rights, who demand their rights while maintaining that “nothing about us – without us”. Prof. Stein engages in a general discussion of the Convention in his lectures. Other points covered in the lecture are related developments around the world, the UN disability conference held in Geneva and how the Convention is applied and monitored in different countries by the Harvard Law School.
Following a program for youths with cerebral palsy who use AAC in South Africa, where they learn to use alternative communication tools effectively, Prof. Kitty Uys from the Center for Augmentative and Alternative Communication at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, describes the empowerment process experienced by participants of the program. Using case studies, she presents the complex relation existing between communication abilities, opportunities for social participation, the importance of the support system and the development of empowerment.
Following the International Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, Prof. Kanter from the Faculty of Law, Syracuse University, USA, states in her lecture, that the existing concept of community life must be abandoned in favor of the understanding that people with disabilities are entitled not only to live in a community, but to also choose how to live in it: at their own residence or in a house with other people.
People with disabilities are entitled, according to the international Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, to be active partners in decisions related to their lives.
Prof. Nelson-Brian’s lecture describes the origin and goals of “Supportive Leadership” program for people with disabilities and promotes this basic right.