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AT Scholar History


Low incidence disabilities are just that. Every assistive technology breakthrough must quickly find a World market if it is to become viable or affordable anywhere. Conversely teachers, therapists and assistive technology professionals now need global knowledge of the new technology available to meet individual needs.

Assistive Technology is a fast-moving field. Governments and legislators must also keep up with what is available for their citizens and of the necessary and changing resource implications.

The British Assistive Technology Scholarship first started to fund the travel, accommodation, and conference fees of top British AT professionals to experience the world’s top assistive technology event. This has been at the annual Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) Conference in the United States. Pretty well all global advances in assistive technology are showcased and first evaluated there.

The first AT Scholar to be sent to ATIA was Anna Reeves, CEO of Ace Centre, in 2020. She attended both the two-day pre-Conference and the four-day full. Afterwards she shared her report “There is an Assistive Technology (AT) Renaissance happening now…” which can be read here.

In 2021, because of Covid-19, the Conference went virtual and instead of funding trans-Atlantic flights, and hotel rooms the Scholarship bought virtual registrations for twenty-five leading British figures in assistive technology.

In 2022 the transatlantic mission had to be deferred – Covid again.

In 2023, for the first time, two British Assistive Technology Scholars were sent across the Atlantic to experience and report back on the conference.

Jennette Greenwood and Robert McClaren, offered very different perspectives. Robert McLaren and his team manage the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology. They are very effective in bringing the needs of assistive technology users to the attention of Government departments – with some exciting initiatives as a result. Whilst Jennette Greenwood, worked directly with severely disabled youngsters in Pendle View Primary School in Lancashire. Pendle View has been a leading and innovative user of assistive technology and has helped develop, test, and improve new AT resources with leading companies including  Inclusive Technology.

“I’m grateful to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Assistive Technology, the British Assistive Technology Association and Communication Matters who helped me set this Scholarship up. And to two of last year’s virtual scholars: Fran Clayton, visionary head of Pendle View School for her support. Also Mick Archer, journalist and past editor of Special Children magazine for writing the profiles of this year’s Scholars.” – Martin Littler