Date: Wednesday, April 21, 2021
Category: Member News
Doug Gayton, MMM, CD, RCA, ATP is a RESNA Fellow and longtime volunteer who served as a member of the Professional Standards Board. He has also done important work to champion the Student Design Challenge committee and served as Conference Chair for RESNA 2020 and 2021. Please enjoy this interview, written in “proper” English as opposed to mongrel American!
What are some lessons learned from RESNA 2020?
There are several phases to a conference, and with the ground shifting as the pandemic took hold, our touchstones had to be recreated almost weekly. We had to determine an overarching approach which would provide maximum accessibility to our attendees. We were fortunate to be associated with SmithBucklin and their deep event staff bench, who were rapidly developing the necessary skillset for virtual meetings. There were also more than several ‘guesses’ throughout the programme building phase: which sessions were suitable for virtual; are we able to conduct workshops; how will a non-captive audience attain the necessary knowledge to support the issuance of CEUs; and so forth. We did ensure we trapped our lessons learnt, a good thing because of how this year has unfolded. Finally, the ever-so-suitable takeaway is that we need to continue to provide a virtual opportunity to attendees always for those who canna travel for various reasons be they distance, funding, or health. Some aspect of virtual is here to stay, even when we can be together in-person.
How is RESNA partnering with other organizations on this conference?
Once again we are delighted to have GAATO join in as we work to spread RESNA’s wings. We are offering a Keynote positioned panel, which will bring together five discreetinternational organizations. I am truly proud of how our fellow organizations (ISWP, NCART, CTF, ADED, and AgrAbility, to name a few) are participating by conducting sessions which we have built into the programme offering. I’m also delighted by the participation of so many NIDLLR-funded RERCs.
Tell us about the Virtual Developer’s Showcase – what will it look like?
We are working diligently to ensure the event is interactive and will provide attendees and developers the opportunity to share the exciting work which is occurring in the field. The conference platform is more suited for this activity than I ever could have considered,and with the helm under firm control by Dr. Emma Smith, the event will be nothing short of remarkable. The Developer’s Showcase will be running without opposition, and will include the finalists from the Student Design Challenge. We are encouraged by the early response and can only say … apply soon … space is at a premium!
What are you most excited for with RESNA 2021?
The programme is really extensive… and for those who have not paid too much attention, we are adding 50 percent more content by returning to a three-day event. This year we are introducing ‘Buzz” sessions which are 30 minutes long; we have retained our RESNA typical 60 minute sessions, and have added a MasterClass each day which runs 90 minutes … so have an extra large cup of coffee for those! We also have an ISWP session before the conference opening Keynote which will fit into a group of other time zones. I am so excited to showcase RESNA to the world with a record number of presentation submissions and a very well-curated programme.
What does the conference theme “Welcome Home” mean to you?
The Welcome Home theme was built around the opening Keynote by Dr. Molly Follette Story, who is truly returning home. Molly was an early RESNA supporter, championed accessibility and universal design, and is returning home – to us – to RESNA. She will be speaking about how her career has progressed over the past 30 years.
We are also highlighting the poet Molly McCully Brown, whose perspective will enlighten our work as clinicians, practitioners, therapists, vendors, designers, and manufacturers. That said we are welcoming everyone and are encouraging folks to establish or re-establish connections, excitement, and knowledge transfer. I am welcoming home everyone with whom I have been associated with RESNA for some 35 years.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Aside from all the sessions, we have Peter Axelson speaking to the Colin McLaurin Lecture and an Awards Session to close. His story as an AT designer and a person with a disability is fascinating. And then, I look forward to raising a glass with all of my RESNA colleagues at the closing Awards session.