Alyssa M Alcorn
Alyssa is a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE), within the UCL Institute of Education. She has specialised in designing and evaluating technologies to support and teach school-aged children on the autism spectrum, with a particular focus on social communication skills and on conducting research in school settings. Currently, she works on the DE-ENIGMA Horizon 2020 project on social robots as teaching tools for autism (http://de-enigma.eu/). Previously, she worked at Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt universities on an ESRC/EPSRC-funded TEL project developing virtual environments for autism (ECHOES-2, see https://bit.ly/2GEuqoO). She has been active across the autism and technology community, and was invited as the 2017 keynote speaker for the UK National Autistic Society’s Autism and Technology Conference. Alyssa completed her PhD in Human-Computer Interaction and MSc Cognitive Science at the University of Edinburgh School of Informatics, and her BA Psychology at Mills College (CA, USA).
Kevin Chapman is a YouTuber, author and former secondary school head of computing who took a massive risk in the summer of 2017 in leaving the teaching profession to become a carer for his 13 year old autistic son who at the time had been refusing to attend school for the previous 18 months. His daily videos cover a wide range of topics including parenting a child with autism, the ups and downs of trying to support a family of five with an online income, education, gaming and geek culture, technology and anything else that takes his fancy! He doesn’t sleep.
Search for Kevin on YouTube at: youtube.com/kevinchapman1
Sylvia Lu - Senior Engineer, u-blox UK
Sylvia is an award winning Engineer with over 10 years’ of industry experience in wireless communications R&D, cellular modem developments, standards, technology strategy and innovation. Currently employed by u-blox (SWX:UBXN), a Swiss company that creates wireless & positioning semiconductors and modules for the industrial, automotive and consumer markets, Sylvia has been critically instrumental in the evolution of cellular connectivity standards for the Internet of Things. Since 2013, Sylvia's interests and work have been focused on the latest technology developments that enable smart “things” to be better connected, include 5G, NB-IoT, Cat-M, V2X and the alike. Sylvia is a Board Member & Director of CW, advises initiatives include Tech-for-Good impact innovation to tackle global social challenges which are close to her heart. Sylvia also serves on the UK5G Innovation Network Advisory Board, supports the development of the UK as a global leader in the development and adoption of 5G. Sylvia is DevelopHer Tech Star 2017 Winner, an annual award recognising woman who works in the technology sector to help with promoting gender diversity in tech. Most recently Sylvia was nominated as Asian Women of Achievement Awards 2018 finalist in the Science and Technology Category, an award to recognise and celebrate the phenomenal Asian women across the UK and across industries, who are making a valuable and important contribution to British life. Sylvia holds a First class degree in Electronic Engineering from Birmingham City University and an MSc. in Communications and Signal Processing from the University of Bristol.
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Jackie & Scott Luland
Jackie - I have 15 years experience of running the NAS Peterborough Branch, running family support and events for people on the Autistic Spectrum and their families, Conferences with National and international speakers, training events etc. My youngest son is a 21 year old young man with severe autism which has given me a huge amount of firsthand experience.
Scott - I have firsthand experience with my severely Autistic brother, along with helping the huge amount of parents/carers that we have run support and events for. I also have a Physics Degree from the University of Nottingham.
We are looking to develop autism services in the Peterborough area, to include a small college/drop-in learning centre, our own social enterprise and much more. All services and our social enterprise will have a technology focus as this is an excellent way to reach and connect with people on the Autistic Spectrum. We will be working with professionals with experience of Autism, and are always happy for other professionals to get involved with our projects.
Abhi has a long heritage with CW having previously founded the CW Handset Special Interest Group (SIG) in 2008, now called Future Devices. Prior to CW, Abhi studied Electronics and Electrical Engineering, has a MBA in International Marketing and interestingly, was approached by Cambridge University Press (alongside a colleague at the time) to write a book on Mobile Handset Design which was successfully launched in New Delhi. 20 years in the ICT industry, it’s fair to say Abhi has built up an enviable network of contacts, to the great fortune of CW! He joined the team in June 2015 as Head of Marketing before landing his current role as CCO. Abhi is responsible for commercial operations, engagement with the start-up community, and is a key driving force behind CW Unplugged; an initiative aimed at the younger generation. A strong advocate of digital inclusion and diversity within the technology industry, Abhi champions this across all areas within CW and actively mentors several young CEO Founders.
Nigel is a senior researcher at the University of the West of England in the fields of autism, technology and education. He has been developing lines of enquiry regarding autism and technology for over 10 years and published work in this area of study. This has lead to consultancy work with US and EU businesses in the fields of technology and autism in addition to funding to support his endeavours. He is also a trustee of a charity (autus.org.uk) that he helped to set up, and Chaired over 4 years ago.
His work has involved user-centred design, case study methodology and traditional psychology approaches to investigating this area. More recently he has identified opportunities for working with VR and head-mounted displays used by autistic groups. His work (with colleagues in the US) has recently examined the potential of VR and HMDs for autistic groups; this was some of the first evidence published on the use of commercially available VR technology in the field.
Nigel is keen, and instant, on involving autistic individuals/groups as co-researchers on the work he engages; seeking insights and perspectives from the people with whom he is researching with. In addition, he sees this ‘space’ as one where interdisciplinary approaches must be utilised to ensure the best possible impact and outcomes of autistic groups using VR HMDs. For example, working with; psychologists, educationalists, software developers, designers, neuroscientists to name a few.
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