James Northridge

James NorthridgeMarie Curie Fellow at University of Massachusetts Medical


Background: I completed my undergraduate studies in University College Cork (Ireland) obtaining a BSc in Business Information Systems and worked in a number of technology roles within Irish Universities, Accenture and PA Consulting. I then when on to complete a MSc in Disability and Rehabilitation Studies in University College Dublin (Ireland). I understand the challenges that come with dyslexia and ADHD on a daily basis and know its impact all too well. I’m passionate about technology and helping others to reach their full potential. I setup my own business and took part in the Irish version of Shark Tank and won investment for my company, UrAbility in 2014. I’m now a Marie Curie Fellow in UMASS Med in Boston, working within the Shriver Center.

Current interests: I am still within my first year of my PhD program and am therefore still finding the true direction I shall take. I am most interested in developing improved methods for parents and professionals to select AAC Apps. To this end, within my current fellowship program I am developing an App selection model that will list appropriate Apps in real-time, depending on the challenges of the user. I will be widely basing it on proved feature matching principles, but also taking into consideration the very consumer oriented app market we find ourselves in today. With this in mind, shifting the focus from mere technology-oriented solutions to the key goal of enabling communication is my main driver to work in this field.

Dissertation Co-Chairs: Dr. Marian McCarthy & Prof William McIlvane

Link to additional information: www.jamesnorthridge.com

Presentation topic:  Does one size fit all? – Empowering professionals & parents to select AAC Apps. As I am focusing on developing a selection model for AAC Apps, I am most interested in getting people’s input and feedback around the current process that professionals use to select appropriate technology for users. I would like to discuss the following questions:

  1. Is feature matching still a useful approach when selecting AAC apps?
  2. How can the current process of selecting technology for users be improved, how can it be made more real-time and save the professional time in the process?
  3. Once I have the selection model developed, what is the best way to validate its use and therefore its impact?
  4. Where does UDL fit into the whole process, how can we ensure that AAC Apps are universal and will empower the user?
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