Whether you are a teacher, a member of the clergy, a medical professional, or an employer, disabilities and chronic illness affect the people you work with and serve in your community. Building awareness of how disability affects your parishioners, clients, and students goes beyond learning facts about disabilities. It includes hearing personal experiences and having the opportunity to ask questions from someone who has lived with a disability.
This is the advantage that I bring to you. As a person who has experience with disability advocacy and also in living with disability and chronic illness, I will equip you with knowledge and also help you to become personally acquainted with what daily life with disability and chronic illness is like.
Special Information for Medical Providers
If you are a medical provider, Why not gather with your colleagues for a presentation? Here are some things you can learn:
- how to communicate effectively with clients who have disabilities, including how to de-escalate emotionally tense situations
- how to protect the privacy of your clients with disabilities
- the impact of chronic illness and disability on your clients’ daily life and why it may hinder compliance with instructions
- interactions between disabilities and medical conditions
- how to teach a client with a disability to use medical devices
- how to conduct a search for accessible medical equipment
- strategies for referral to appropriate support resources
Presentations for Religious Groups
Do people with disabilities attend your place of worship? If the answer is no, then we should talk, especially if you are waiting to do anything welcoming until they come.
If the answer is yes, how are things going? How many are participating fully in your choir, in outreach activities, in any areas of leadership? If you have read this and begun to shake your head, you have a great opportunity for growth and an untapped source for enthusiastic disciples.
How many people with disabilities attend your seminary? How many are studying biblical languages? If they are exempt because it is “too hard,” then let’s talk and see how it can be made possible.
If any of the above situations describe you, I would like to speak to you and help you overcome the gap. What you will learn:
- how to initiate conversations with people who have clearly identifiable disabilities
- an overview of theological issues concerning disability and faith
- how to accommodate a person with disabilities in various scenarios in places of worship
- when a specialized disability ministry can help and when it can hinder
- for seminaries, how to accommodate a person with disabilities in biblical language courses
- Summary of accessibility needs of people who are blind across faith groups
- Unmet access needs of biblical language scholars who are blind (2011)
Presentations for Student Groups
I am available to speak to groups of students as young as kindergarten regarding disability awareness. In the following sample, responses from children have been edited out in order to preserve privacy. My presentations for children are designed to be interactive so that young children are engaged and learn actively.
Please note: The following presentation was given at a time when I was working with a dog guide. While I am no longer working with a dog guide, I am still available to do general presentations about disability awareness or blindness for children and am happy to talk about my experiences with dogs, including why I stopped working with one.
I have served on a variety of advocacy committees since 1993, including the ADA Advisory Committee at Stephen F. Austin State University; the Special Education Advisory Council for the Nacogdoches, Texas, independent school district; the Indiana Inclusion Council; the education advisory board for Bookshare, Inc.; and the health care advocacy committee for the American Council of the Blind. I currently moderate several online support groups for people with disabilities.
I am most available to present near Indianapolis, IN. Special arrangements can be made for travel outside Indiana. Send email to inquire about rates appropriate for your event.