Flattening knowledge hierarchies and free-flowing information helps us too. When psychosocial disability is diagnosed as a medical disease, information often stops with guidance about medication. Usually it takes finding each other, and now using the technologies, to learn there are broader understandings, and other causes, and other ways to self-manage.

But shame has made it hard for people with psychosocial disabilities to find each other and many of us are as poor as others here, so the technology is important to us for connecting and for organizing.

Some users and survivors also benefit from accessibility accommodations required for others, some of us are overloaded by web pages that are too busy, some of us are more comfortable with technology mediating our exchanges with each other and with carers, some are relieved to have the chance to pause before speaking or typing, ...

Most people with disabilities are poor, and for the poorest, there might be a threshold of infrastructure investment in technology and infrastructure that must be achieved before the divide can be narrowed. (Catherine Mann, Information Technology and International Development, ITID, 1:2, Winter, 2003, p 67) We would encourage narrowing the poverty divide however we can, with baseline investment, with cell phones, open source software, intermediate affordable technologies, for instance low power radio and tv transmitters, ... Success depends on appropriate technology, appropriate change agents (that’s us!), community participation, availability of pro-poor services, and campaigns to raise awareness.

WNUSP is active in the drafting of the UN Convention. A key piece of the work of the International Disability Caucus has been crafting inclusive language that covers all disabilities and doesn’t exceptionalize, realizing that the danger of any listing or examples is the omissions. So here, as we read the draft of the Tunis Declaration we see again that careful attention to words that won’t be turned against us. And there is a parallel between the Convention inclusion, on the ground accessibility, and harmonizing standards and ensuring interoperability

I’m excited to be here and to be part of the information society.