2nd African American Conference on Disabilities – Another Success!

Renaldo Fowler, Senior Staff Advocate
Arizona Center for Disability Law
DDNN Summer 2013

On March 1, 2013, the Arizona Center for Disability Law (ACDL) sponsored the 2nd Annual African American Conference on Disabilities which was even more successful than the first conference. The Arizona Bridge to Independent Living (ABIL) was a co-sponsor for the event.

Dr. Dan Davidson from NAU Institute for Human Development presented a very popular workshop on Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports for parents and professionals of students with special needs.

More than 260 professionals, people with disabilities, and agency representatives participated in this year’s conference. The conference was funded partially by a grant from the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (ADDPC) through Contract No. ADDPC-FFY-11-CS-00-01. Other sponsors included the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Northern Arizona University Institute for Human Development, University of Arizona Sonoran Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC).

From top clockwise: Larry  Clausen, ADDPC Executive Director, giving information at  the Council’s booth; David Carey,  conference planner from ABIL; Jacy Farkas, Sonoran UCEDD’s Person-Centered Initiative Director, answers questions from an attendee.There were 20 workshops on topics such as healthcare, special education, transportation, employment, autism, housing and mental health. Workshop presenters included ACDL’s attorneys and advocates; UCEDD’s Medical Home, Project SEARCH and Person-Centered Initiative coordinators; an Exceptional Education Teacher from Deer Valley Unified School District; Arizona Department of Economic Security Medical Director; Fitness Coordinator and Benefits 2 Work Program Manager from ABIL; housing counselors from Arizona Fair Housing Center; Valley Metro Transit Education Supervisor; Hard of Hearing and Deaf Specialists from the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; diabetes expert and registered nurse from Carondelet Health Network and a clinical psychologist.  The Honorable Leah Landrum Taylor, Arizona State Senator for District 16, was the keynote speaker during the luncheon.

As a follow-up to the conference, participants were asked to complete an online survey and to relate how the conference has helped them in the workplace or in their personal lives. Some of the responses were:  

“I attended a session regarding SPED laws and IEP meetings. I knew someone who was having trouble being heard by the school and gave her the information. It allowed her to be a better advocate for her daughter.”

“[I] gave a presentation at work to nurses on the educational medical workshops and shared and applied knowledge with family and community individuals”.

“I work as a supervisor for Adult Protective Services and we work with vulnerable adults. So I passed this information along to my staff to provide to their clients.”

“The packet of legal forms given in legal options [training] can be given to families to use.”

ACDL and ABIL are in the process of planning next year’s conference, 3rd Annual African American Symposium on Disabilities, scheduled for February 28, 2014. If you are interested in being a sponsor or vendor, contact Renaldo Fowler at 602-274-6287 or e-mail: rfowler@azdisabilitylaw.org