Diversity, Accessibility, and the Center for Neurotechnology: Disability-Advocate John Kemp Discusses the Importance of Being Seen, Heard, and Understood

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Disability advocate John Kemp participated in a roundtable discussion at the Center for Neurotechnology (CNT) last month. He emphasized the importance of building awareness of disability perspectives, and including the opinions and needs of end-users, especially those with disabilities, in the device design and development process.

“The user experience has to be paramount and has to be respected,” Kemp said. “The engineer has to listen very carefully to what the person [neurotechnology end-user] wants to do and not substitute their judgment or desires for the person. Even if they disagree, they cannot substitute. They have to follow what the person wants to do with their prostheses. It’s about helping a person fulfill their wishes.”

Kemp is a renowned disability rights leader who co-founded the American Association of People with Disabilities. He also has partnered with, worked for and served as board member, chair and CEO of leading disability organizations. He is the fourth President and Chief Executive of the Viscardi Center, a network of nonprofit organizations that provide services that educate, employ and empower children and adults with disabilities. Kemp, who uses four prosthetic limbs, has been a role model for disability rights and an ally of DO-IT and other organizations that serve to create a more inclusive world. His many awards include the Dole Leadership Prize from the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas, joining a group of international recipients that includes Nelson Mandela. A law school graduate, Kemp also has mentored DO-IT Scholars.

The CNT shared more from John Kemp and other participants in the roundtable discussion in an article, "The importance of being seen, heard and understood for neurotechnology end-users." Read more online and learn more around the user experience and social justice in relation to technology.