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Cerebral palsy and online social networks




12.30pm to 2.15pm. Seminar starts at 1pm

Speaker: Makayla Lewis, PhD Researcher, Centre for Human Computer Interaction Design, City University London

Today, social networking websites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter have emerged as leaders and draw in hundreds of millions of international users. Existing literature suggests that online social networks (OSNs) have the potential to help people with cerebral palsy (cp) to overcome their mobility, access and communication limitations to enable communication independence. Conventional communication methods such as face-to-face communication, telephone communication and text message communication are often difficult to use, and can limit the opportunities for people with cp to engage in successful socialization with their family and friends.

In this seminar Makayla Lewis will present findings from her qualitative exploratory interview study investigating the experiences and challenges faced when people with cp use OSNs. The study identified the reasons for use and non-use and also discovered key themes together with challenges that affected people's experiences. For example abrupt and frequently changing OSNs often slow down or prevent use. In spite of this, the study recognized that technology is a vital way for people with cerebral palsy to communicate and would continue to play a crucial role within their lives.  This presentation will discuss: the advantages of OSNs for people with cp; the roles OSNs currently play in their lives; and the common barriers & challenges faced when they carry out use.

Makayla's research is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. As a carer for a parent with cerebral palsy, a volunteer at user-led disability organizations and a British Sign Language learner Makayla has developed an exceptional understanding and commitment to disability, social media, human-computer interaction, and web accessibility.
Web page:


LEWIS, M., 2010. Cerebral palsy and online social networks, Proceedings of the 12th international ACM SIGACCESS conference on Computers and accessibility 2010, ACM, pp. 243-4.


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When and where

12.30pm - 2.15pmTuesday 12th April 2011

AG01 College Building City, University of London St John Street London EC1V 4PB United Kingdom

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