Call for Proposals

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Symposium on Disability, Technology and Rehabilitation in Low and Middle Income Countries

June 27 & 28, 2013

Seattle, WA, USA


Ensuring the right to full and effective participation and inclusion in society for people with disabilities through the provision of appropriate technology and rehabilitation services. 

Symposium Goals

The primary goal of this symposium is to bring together researchers, clinicians, consumers, consumer led organizations, technology developers and providers, policy makers and other relevant stakeholders who focus on improving and increasing access to technology and rehabilitation products and services with the goal of ensuring full inclusion and participation for people with disabilities in low-resourced communities in low and middle income countries.

Symposium Themes

This symposium supports the purpose of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), that is, “to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.”  The 50 articles in the CRPD detail the breadth of human rights belonging to people with disabilities. Although the full scope of the CRPD is relevant, in this symposium, we are primarily interested in proposals that address:

  • Article 9—Accessibility
  • Article 19—Living  independently and being included in the community
  • Article 20—Personal mobility
  • Article 25—Health
  • Article 26—Habilitation & rehabilitation

We are also interested in the following as they relate to rehabilitation, assistive technology, and accessible information and communication technologies:

  • Article 24—Education
  • Article 27—Work and employment

Topic Areas

Across these broad areas of technology and rehabilitation in low and middle income countries, we are particularly interested in the following specific topics:

  • Assistive technology and accessible information and communication technology (ICT):
    • Appropriate and low-cost assistive devices and ICTs.
    • R&D of new assistive technologies.
    • Production and supply chains.
  • Service delivery models:
    • Building capacity of technology and rehabilitation services within existing health systems, and through community-based rehabilitation programs.
    • High-quality and comprehensive provision models (assessment, follow-up, repair, etc).
  • Human resource development:
    • Training and education programs for technology and rehabilitation professionals (e.g., OT, PT, prosthetics & orthotics, physiotherapy, speech/language pathology, assistive technology professionals, community-based rehabilitation workers).
    • Strategies for training and retaining mid-level, multi-purpose technology and rehabilitation workers with basic expertise across several disciplines.
  • Policy, regulatory and funding mechanisms for supporting provision of technology and rehabilitation:
    • Implementation of relevant CRPD articles within national policies, plans and legislation.
    • Public and public-private financial schemes to ensure equal access to services.
    • International cooperation and funding.
  • Research and evidence-based practice:
    • Outcomes for end-users/households (quality of life, participation, poverty reduction, employment, community living, independent living).
    • Development and implementation of evidence-based guidelines and international standards.
    • Economic benefits of technology and rehabilitation products and services.

Target Audiences of the Symposium

  • Researchers
  • NGOs, DPOs
  • Policy makers and government officials
  • Funders
  • Service providers (ATP, CRN, SLP, PT, OT, MD)
  • Product developers
  • Students

Accepted Formats

Presentation proposals may be submitted in the following formats. If your proposal is not selected in the format you request, we may offer an alternate format based on the needs of the symposium. For example, topical presentations may be combined into a panel or offered as a poster.

  • Poster Presentation
  • Topical Presentation (20 min presentation plus a required 10 minute audience interaction)
  • Panel (three related presentations at 15 min each plus a required 30 minute audience interaction)

We will also offer an opportunity for nonprofit and for-profit organizations to display materials and/or products related to technology and rehabilitation in low-resourced regions. Please contact symposium organizers for more information about display tables.

Audience interaction is required for the Topical Presentation and Panel formats. Although a question and answer period is appropriate for a part of this time, we request that presenters use this time to actively engage symposium participants in an activity, discussion, or exercise that engages users in the issues being discussed and leverages the expertise of the attending participants.

Proposal Components

Poster Presentation

Poster proposals should be no longer than two pages or approximately 1,000 words. Participants submitting presentations of research or evaluation projects should include the following components:

  • Objective(s)
  • Design
  • Setting
  • Participants
  • Interventions, observations, or measurement development activity
  • Main outcome measure(s)
  • Results
  • Implications for the field and next steps

Participants submitting demonstration projects or other non-research focused projects should include the following components:

  • Objective(s)
  • Setting
  • Participants
  • Innovation
  • Outcomes
  • Implications for the field and next steps

Please note that the final bullet item “Implications for the field and next steps” is an important and valued part of each presentation.

Topical Presentation

Proposals for topical presentations may be up to 4 pages or 2,000 words. Participants should use the same components listed under Poster Presentations above. In addition, proposals must include a section that describes their plan for audience interaction.


Panels bring together three strong presentations around a theme. Proposals should include:

  • Rationale for the panel (up to 1 page—500 words)
  • For each of the three papers that will be presented, a separate presentation proposal using the components and page limitations listed above.
  • Plan for audience interaction (up to 1 page—500 words)

Submission Process - CLOSED

Review Process

Priority for presentations will be given to researchers who live in and/or conduct research in low-resourced regions of the world. Priority will also be given to research areas that are poorly represented in the pool of proposals in order to expand the scope of the symposium. Proposals will be peer-reviewed and rated independently by two reviewers. Ratings will be based on (1) relevance to themes of the symposium, (2) scientific and clinical quality, (3) timeliness of the topic, and (4) contribution to the field of practice and policy. Decisions about proposal acceptance will be made by a research committee who will choose presentations based on the peer-review ratings and their professional judgment.

Important Dates

Final submission deadline (EXTENDED):

January 21, 2013

Notification of acceptance status by:

February 28, 2013

Presenters must accept and confirm by:

March 22, 2013

Program schedule posted to Web site:

April 1, 2013

Registration deadline for presenters:

April 30, 2013

Special Issue

We are planning a special issue in the journal Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology ( The special issue will include an overview of the symposium and invited papers identified from the presentations given at the symposium. The objective of the special issue will be to increase awareness about research conducted on rehabilitation and assistive technology in LMICs. We have modified the submission form so you can indicate whether you are interested in having your submission considered for inclusion in the special issue. Authors who are invited will be expected to write an article that is of the quality necessary for inclusion in a peer-reviewed journal. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology is abstracted and indexed by a variety of indexing services including CINAHL, PubMed/MEDLINE, and PsycINFO. 

Participating in the Symposium

The symposium will be held on the University of Washington, Seattle campus in the Lyceum room (106) of the Husky Union Building (HUB). This space is fully accessible for participants and speakers and has a full range of audiovisual systems. More information about hotels, transportation, and parking will be provided on the website and by email. To receive email about the symposium, sign up at:


There is limited funding available to help cover travel expenses for selected presenters and priority will be given to presenters from LMICs. Conference organizers are also hoping to be able to provide ways for presenters from LMICs the opportunity to participate remotely by live video streaming.

Contact Information

For more information contact the symposium organizers: Becky Matter ( or Mark Harniss (