CAAC and its students attend three prestigious international conferences

Posted on June 29, 2016

The months of May and June were exceptionally busy for the Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (CAAC) as members of its staff and PhD students attended three prestigious international conferences.

Prof Bornman and Dr Naudé attended the Fourth Conference of the International Association for Education in Ethics (IAEE), hosted by the Centre for Biomedical Research of La Rioja (CIBIR) in Logroño, Spain from 25-27 May 2016. Approximately 70 experts from 15 countries participated and engaged in discussions and exchanges related to ethics, care and quality in the educational development of professionals. Since the theme of the conference was building bridges and bridging gaps, the focus was on addressing the important social changes that our societies are facing and the challenges that these changes imply for ethics education in various disciplines in order to assist professionals and practitioners in coping with ethical problems. Prof Bornman and Dr Naudé, who represented the University of Pretoria and the CAAC, presented two papers. Dr Naudé's presentation focused on the use of vignettes to advance and measure ethical sensitivity in therapists, while Prof Bornman discussed the link between ethical sensitivity and cultural competence. Both presentations were well received by international experts on the topic and elicited interesting discussions. The Centre for Ethics at Yenepoya University in Mangalore, Karnataka, India will host the Fifth IAEE Conference in November 2017. The Sixth International Conference on Ethics Education, to be held in 2018, will be proudly South African and will be hosted by the University of Stellenbosch (US) from 3-5 October 2018.

Representatives of the CAAC also attended the International Conference on Cerebral Palsy and other Childhood-onset Disabilities, which was held in Stockholm from the 1-4 June 2016. Prof Bornman delivered one of the keynote addresses titled 'Human rights of children with disability: reality or fantasy'. She presented the six collaborative studies undertaken by the CAAC and the CHILD group from Jönköping University, funded by the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA). The conference was attended by 1 500 delegates from 66 countries. The plenary sessions were held in the Aula Medica at the Karolinska Institute, the same venue where the annual Nobel Prize for medicine is awarded.  Dr Alecia Samuels, who is currently completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Jönköping University, presented a paper titled ’Involving children with long-term health conditions and disabilities as participants in longitudinal studies’. Drs Ensa Johnson from the University of Pretoria and Margareta Adolfsson from the Child Research Group at Jonköping University in Sweden also did a sterling job in presenting their research on pain in children with cerebral palsy. They explained why teachers should be made aware of the management of chronic pain in this population.

The 2016 International Society on Early Intervention (ISEI) Conference was held at the University of Stockholm in Sweden from 8-10 June 2016. The major themes of the conference were Children’s Rights and Early Intervention, which are aspects that are of paramount importance for vulnerable children and their families. It was therefore fitting that the conference was opened with a performance by a choir from the Adolf Fredrik’s Music School for children and youth, and that it was dedicated to Professor Ulf Jansen, who was an international leader in the promotion of social inclusion for all children. More than 50 countries were represented. The six South African representatives were: Drs Alecia Samuels, Sadna Balton, Ensa Johnson and Liezl Schlebusch, Karin van Niekerk and Thilen Kyarkanaye, as well as two PhD students, Refilwe Morwane and Njabulo Mbanda, who are all associated with the University of Pretoria. The conference offered an excellent forum for the presentation of research focused on early childhood.


- Author Robyn White

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