Connected Lives – Google and Deafblind Doctor, Alexandra Adams headline the Deafblind Conference 2023

Alexandra Adams

Our third and most streamed yet virtual Deafblind Conference, hosted by experts in the field!

The event comprised talks from many well-known international and UK-based speakers including deafblind doctor, Alexandra Adams and Head of Accessibility and Disability Inclusion, EMEA at Google, Christopher Patnoe. The online event focused on the topic of ‘Connected Lives’ and speakers explored how deafblindness affects all areas of someone’s life.

Deafblind UK CEO, Nikki Morris said: “We know that the effects of deafblindness are far-reaching, beyond the person directly affected. At this year’s conference, we explored how deafblindness affects the people around us. We looked at how relationships, education and employment are impacted and explored the systems that are in place to support these areas. Once again, we are extremely proud to host this popular event. Having a day to explore the impact of deafblindness, not only on the individual but beyond, is vitally important for everyone we work with.”

Speakers included Alexandra Adams who is best known as the UK’s first deafblind person training to be a doctor. Over the years, Alexandra’s personal experiences of discrimination and stereotyping both within and outside the workplace, have led her to take up a strong advocacy role in the world of better inclusivity and accessibility, adopting a passion and belief for the ‘can do’ attitude. Alexandra shared with us the reality that comes with trying to dispel the myths and misconceptions of being a deaf and blind healthcare professional; why and how she was inspired to become a doctor, the discrimination and hurdles she encountered, and what she has learned about workplace cultures and general society views.

Christopher Patnoe, Head of Accessibility and Disability Inclusion, EMEA at Google also spoke at the event. Christopher leads Google’s work around the accessibility of products, people, policy and partnerships across EMEA – with a particular focus on Emerging Markets. He has more than 25 years’ experience in tech, working at companies such as Apple, Sony Ericsson and Disney, where he’s built hardware, software, and services. In his talk, Christopher discussed the key factors in building inclusive, innovative products – using Google’s AT as an example of this in action.

Christopher and Alexandra were joined by a host of other high-class speakers, many with lived experience of deafblindness. These included Dr Annmaree Watharow, Lived Experience Research Fellow from the University of Sydney and Megan Taylor, a social media star telling her ‘superdogs’ story. This year’s conference also included panel discussions on life as a deafblind parent, and how local authorities engage with people living with deafblindness.

The 2023 event brought people together from all walks of life to share their thoughts, opinions, research, and experiences of living with sight and hearing loss.

We had fantastic feedback from the day and wish to thank all who joined us, from the viewers to the speakers, and all those behind the scenes who made it possible!

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