21 July 2016 - People with disabilities and supporting Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) will soon have greater access to assistive technology and more financial support. Details were announced at the inaugural E2 Connect 2016, a two-day forum involving communities from industry and disability care coming together to raise awareness of opportunities for the disabled in terms of education, training and independent living.
Singapore, 21 July | For Immediate Release
People with disabilities and supporting Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs) will soon have greater access to assistive technology and more financial support. Details were announced at the inaugural E2 Connect 2016, a two-day forum involving communities from industry and disability care coming together to raise awareness of opportunities for the disabled in terms of education, training and independent living.
Organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), with the support of SG Enable and SPD, the forum also seeks to raise awareness of the various Infocomm/Assistive technologies (IT/AT) that play an important role in helping the persons with disabilities address many challenges.
Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for Communications and Information, the guest-of-honour at the event, announced two new enhancements to the NEU PC Plus programme – a scheme that offers computers and broadband at affordable rates for students from low-income families. Having already benefitted more than 27,000 low-income households with school-going children or people with disabilities since 2006, the scheme will raise the monthly household income cap from $3,000 to $3,400. This will expect to benefit another 5,000 households over five years. Secondly, the application process has been streamlined so special education students already on financial assistance will be able to receive a subsidy of up to 75% more easily. This will take effect from 1 September 2016.
He also announced that a new wheelchair-accessible IDA Lab on Wheels bus will be rolled out to bring technology to the special needs community. In addition to showcasing IT/AT tech gadgets, the bus will offer workshops with customised curriculum for different special needs such as cerebral palsy and autism. There will also be occupational therapists on board to assist during the workshops.
To further support VWOs, he also shared that VWOs like Blue Cross Thong Kheng Home and the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) received IT/AT Adoptive Grants from IDA’s Enable IT programme to implement technology solutions to help their beneficiaries. These were in the form of smart devices and virtual reality solutions.
At the forum, industry representatives will also hear from internationally renowned champions of people with disabilities such as keynote speaker Mr John D Kemp, President & CEO of the Viscardi Center, New York, who has spent 50 years mentoring people with disabilities and Ms Robyn Chapman, CEO of the Independent Living Centre, Sydney, an experienced physiotherapist across health, aged and disability sectors in private, public and not-for-profit settings. They will be sharing their insights and experiences on how technology enables people with disabilities to live their dreams, and how IT/AT initiatives in Australia have benefitted people with disabilities respectively.
Other notable speakers such as Mr Greg Alchin, Dr Daiana Beitler and Ms Ruth Lee will also share learnings and best practices across the employment and education. Additionally, speakers such as Mr Lin Wei Liang, Dr Tan Yeow Kee and Mr Oliver Tian will share insights and advancements in IT/AT tools that help empower persons with disabilities.
The event also includes a pop-up Tech Tent showcasing a range of innovative tools and assistive technologies from companies such as Alchin Consulting, Engineering Good, Kydz International, Phonak, Otsaw and Relsig. Attendees can learn about tools such as assistive software in everyday smart devices, educational robots, and interactive sensory solutions.
E2 Connect 2016 is part of the Enable IT programme, under IDA’s Digital Inclusion initiative to help people from all walks of life enjoy the benefits of infocomm as Singapore advances towards a Smart Nation.
“A Smart Nation is about people, not tech alone. It’s about using tech to make people’s lives better, creating new opportunities and building stronger communities; it’s for everyone,” said Mr Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief Executive, IDA.
For more details, refer to Annexes.
ISSUED BY THE INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE
About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
The mission of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is to develop information technology and telecommunications within Singapore with a view to serve citizens of all ages and companies of all sizes. IDA does this by actively supporting the growth of innovative technology companies and start-ups in Singapore, working with leading global IT companies as well as developing excellent information technology and telecommunications infrastructure, policies and capabilities for Singapore. For more news and information, visit www.imda.gov.sg. Follow IDA on Facebook IDA.Singapore and Twitter @IDAsg.
About E2 Connect 2016
E2 Connect 2016 is Singapore’s inaugural Forum on Infocomm and Assistive Technologies (IT/AT) aimed at encouraging collaborations between Voluntary Welfare Organisations (VWOs), allied healthcare professionals, employers, people with disabilities (PWDs) and their caregivers. Representing the key goals of the Forum, E2 Connect stands for Enable, Empower and Connect.
Organised by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and held at the Enabling Village, E2 Connect 2016 seeks to bring about greater awareness of the positive impact technology has in the daily lives of PWDs and the various opportunities for learning and employability. The Forum also includes a showcase of IT/AT adoption, tools and facilities that can maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence to facilitate participation and enhance overall well-being.
For more details, please visit www.e2connect.sg