Staff Development Seminar "Toward Universal Information Sharing" Was Held

Update: October 17, 2018

On Thursday, October 11, Dr. Shinichiro Kumagaya, Director of Disability Services Office and associate professor of the University of Tokyo was invited to hold a staff development seminar entitled "Toward Universal Information Sharing."

ICU has established the Basic Policy for Supporting Students with Special Needs. Through the Special Needs Support Services (SNSS) office, ICU provides reasonable accommodations to students with physical disabilities (orthopedic disabilities, visual impairments, hard of hearing/deaf), learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and psychological disabilities. The SNSS office is also working to promote the creation of a universal learning environment in collaboration with students, faculty, staff, relevant departments at ICU, etc. This seminar was held as part of such activities for creating a universal learning environment.

In the first half of the lecture, Dr. Kumagaya explained about the concept of universal information accessibility to ensure equal information sharing for everyone, whether with or without disabilities. He emphasized that "communication disorder is something that occurs between people rather than an attribute of an individual" and explained that we need to make efforts to appropriately communicate with each other based on proper understanding of the conditions of the other person, by introducing specific case examples of persons with autism spectrum disorder (ASD): that there are people who are sensitive to brightness because they cannot adjust their pupils to varying levels of light; some people find it easier or more difficult to read texts depending on the font used; and some people may be excessively sensitive to reverberant sound caused by reflection of sound. In the latter half of the lecture, he explained how to support decision making of students with disabilities by eliciting information on what they really want, in light of the concept of universal information accessibility.

Comments from staff members who attended the seminar included, "There were times I just couldn't figure out what was the matter with some of the students I was engaged with. I finally got it," and "I learned useful things about how to deal with students who have difficulty in communicating what they want to say."

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