Digital Outcasts Book Now In Production

December 11th, 2012 by Kel Smith | Filed under About the Book, Appearances, Cognitive, Nature of Disability, Uncategorized, Virtual Reality

The manuscript for Digital Outcasts has been delivered. As of today, I can’t tell you whether it’s any good. I think it probably is, but I’m too close to be the most objective judge of quality. What I can tell you is that the book is now in production and will soon be available for pre-order on the Elsevier website. So that’s pretty exciting.

The book will be available in print and e-book formats in June 2013. In advance of that, I’ll be conducting a mini book tour of speaking engagements related to the book’s themes. Appearances at SXSW 2013 in Austin and CSUN 2013 in San Diego are already on the calendar. I’ll post more dates as they are confirmed.

Because I’ve been devoting most of my effort to writing and editing the actual book, I’ve let a number of interesting developments slip by. Two in particular are worthy of mention:

Disability and Virtual Worlds

Second Life avatars, shown sitting in wheelchairs. Virtual worlds can relieve isolation felt among people with disabilities.

Second Life avatars, shown sitting in wheelchairs. Virtual worlds can relieve isolation felt among people with disabilities.

An ARC-funded project exploring isolation and illness suggests that online virtual worlds (three-dimensional multi-user environments) can provide support for people living with disabilities.

Accessibility of these environments, however, remains an obstacle. I’ve devoted an entire chapter in the book to the topic, exploring the use of virtual environments and communities of practice in the disability sector. The story appears at Phys.Org and touches upon themes I’ve covered in presentations and articles since 2009.

Employment Advantages of Autism

Thorkil Sonne and his son Lars, who has autism, at home in Ringsted, Denmark. Photo by Joachim Ladefoged/VII, for The New York Times.

Thorkil Sonne and his son Lars, who has autism, at home in Ringsted, Denmark. Photo by Joachim Ladefoged/VII, for The New York Times.

The New York Times Magazine reports on staffing firms that specialize in placing candidates with autism in jobs where they can be successful.

Employers are gradually recognizing that workers with unusually strong attention to detail and concentration can be an asset in certain occupations, such as quality assurance. Among the examples cited are Specialisterne, a Danish company that gets mention in the book.

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