2012 Texas Statewide Independent Living Conference

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The 2012 Texas Statewide Independent Living Conference

April 22-24 Dallas Marriott City Center

Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC)

Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)

Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD)

Texas State Independent Living Council Meet the Council • Saul Herrera, Chair Midland, TX • Randell Resneder, Vice-Chair Lubbock, TX • Kristen Jones, Secretary Austin, TX • Peggy Cosner, Treasurer Belton, TX • Shannon Alexander, Public Member Bryan, TX • Jim Batchelor, Public Member Cooper, TX • Crystal Choi, Public Member Fort Worth, TX

• Richard Couder, Public Member El Paso, TX • Beth Dennis, Ex-Officio Division for Blind Services (DARS-DBS) • Marc S. Gold, Ex-Officio Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) • Lance Hamilos, Ex-Officio Division for Rehabilitation Services (DARS-DRS) • Donald Landry, Public Member Beaumont, TX • Karen Swearingen, Public Member Rowlett, TX

Meet the Staff Regina Blye, Executive Director Lois Langtry, Executive Assistant Kaethe Selkirk, Project Specialist Kimberly Bates, Project Specialist Emily Wolinsky, Project Specialist

Regina Blye, Executive Director Lois Langtry, Executive Assistant Kaethe Selkirk, Project Specialist conference@txsilc.org Kimberlywww.txsilc.org/conference Bates, Project Specialist Emily Wolinsky, Project Specialist

at www.facebook.com/txsilc


• • • • •


5555 North Lamar Blvd., Suite J-103 Austin, Texas 78751 conference@txsilc.org, www.txsilc.org/conference Phone: 512-371-7353

Meet the Staff

Table of Contents Page 4 Welcome Letter

Page 5 What is Independent Living?

Page 6 Texas SILC Raffles and Giveaways

Page 7 Hotel Floor Plan and Accommodations

Pages 8-12 At-A-Glance Schedule

Pages 18-30 Speaker Bios & Partners

Thank you for making this a non-smoking and scent-free event!


Pages 13-17 Session Descriptions

Welcome to the 2012 Texas Statewide Independent Living Conference, “Connected to Independent Living� located at the Dallas Marriott City Center. We are gathered here to support such efforts and to work together to identify ways to access housing, transportation, community supports, and Independent Living services needed for Texans with disabilities. This year, I am very excited to announce that the Texas SILC has been awarded a very important grant from the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD). This grant, which is focused on leadership and advocacy development, will help connect more and more Texans with disabilities to their communities and to each other for the next three years. Thanks to TCDD, the SILC was able to provide a stipend for 70 individuals with disabilities and/or family members of individuals with disabilities to attend the Statewide Independent Living Conference free of cost. We have brought in participation of diverse individuals from rural and urban counties who will grow as leaders and advocates and increase their knowledge on issues pertaining to Independent Living. The SILC has worked hard to ensure that what is learned over the next few days will not be forgotten and will translate to great social change back in our home communities. As with all previous conferences, this year’s conference offers many informative sessions, exhibits, and social activities that are designed to facilitate your interaction with other attendees as well as the presenters and speakers. We believe this conference will be an enjoyable and educational experience for everyone. Conference materials are available in alternate formats and both sign language interpreters and CART services have been arranged. Several roving personal attendants and volunteers will be present during daily conference activities to assist attendees. The 2012 Texas Statewide Independent Living Conference could not happen without the help of many dedicated people and donations from sponsors and community partners. Please take a moment to read the lists of volunteers, staff, and donors, and say thank you when you have a chance. On behalf of the Conference Committee, thank you for joining us and we hope you see old friends and meet new ones!


With warmest regards,

Regina Blye SILC Executive Director

What is Independent Living? From the perspective of the Texas State Independent Living Council, the term "Independent Living” (IL) is a philosophy, way of life, and a movement of people with disabilities who work for selfdetermination, equal opportunities and self-respect. It also means the empowerment of people with disabilities to make their own decisions and life choices to the greatest extent possible, and the ability to live in the least restrictive environment with the same rights and privileges as other people. That meaning is reflected in the definitions and provisions of the Rehabilitation Act. With origins in the U.S. civil rights and consumer movements of the late 1960s, the Independent Living Movement grew out of the Disability Rights Movement, which began in the 1970s. Over the years, the IL Movement has spread from North America to all continents, adapting itself to and getting enriched by different cultures and economic conditions in the process. Supporting the movement and utilizing its work has become an important ingredient of many countries’ social policy. There are at least two entities responsible for upholding the Independent Living philosophy, Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) and Centers for Independent Living (CILs). The Texas SILC is to develop, in cooperation with DARS and the Network of CILs, the State Plan for Independent Living (SPIL). This document is a detailed three-year plan that sets the parameters and establishes the goals for the provision of Independent Living services in Texas. The SILC is also charged with the responsibility of monitoring the implementation and effectiveness of the State Plan. Other roles of the SILC are systems advocacy, education of the public regarding disability-related topics, and provision of technical assistance concerning the Independent Living philosophy and approach. Independent Living services, as defined in the Rehabilitation Act, are provided primarily by Centers for Independent Living, (CILs). Currently, twenty-seven such centers exist in Texas. CILs must be community-based, nonresidential, cross-disability (all disability groups are served), and consumercontrolled (a majority of the board and staff must be persons with disabilities). CILs are required to provide, at a minimum, the following services: Individual and Systems Advocacy Cross-disability Peer Support Information and Referral Independent Living Skills Training

“As long as we regard our disabilities as tragedies, we will be pitied. As long as we feel ashamed of who we are, our lives will be regarded as useless. As long as we remain silent, we will be told by others what to do." - Dr. Adolf Ratzka


• • • •

Texas SILC Raffles and Giveaways



Hotel Floor Plan and Accommodations


Dallas Marriott City Center Floor Plan

Blue: Men’s Restrooms Red: Women’s Restrooms

Yellow: Conference Rooms

At-A-Glance Schedule The Texas State Independent Living Council is pleased to offer Continuing Education credits to professionals attending the conference. Qualified sessions are marked throughout the program for your convenience.


10 a.m. to 1 p.m.


TACIL Quarterly Meeting

1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. SILC Quarterly Meeting

3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. SILC/CILs Joint Meeting

4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. PAC and Stipend Participant Meeting

5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Pre-Registration

7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. “What Does Independent Living Mean to Me?” Social Mixer Giveaways


Normandy Somerset Lobby Level in front of Cambridge and Somerset Cambridge

“I am neither an optimist nor pessimist, but a possibilist.” -Max Lerner


Sunday, April 22

At-A-Glance Schedule Monday, April 23 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Room Foyer

Complimentary Breakfast

8:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.


Registration and Raffle Tickets

8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Opening Announcements and Introductions: • Saul Herrera, SILC Chair • Randell Resneder, SILC Conference Committee Chair • Peggy Cosner, TACIL Chair • Jerry R Allen, Dallas City Council Member • Regina Blye, SILC Executive Director • Keynote Speaker: Geri Jewell

10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Plaza Ballroom


Break and Visit Exhibitors

10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Group A Breakout Sessions 1. Texas Institutions: Neglected and Rejected CEU 2. TDHCA’s HOME and Housing Trust Fund Programs CEU 3. Home Modifications and Assistive Technology in the Home CEU 4. Mobility Management Independent Living Coaches CEU

11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Plaza A Bordeaux Plaza B, C Normandy Foyer

Lunch On Your Own and Meet with Exhibitors Random Giveaways, as well as Snacks during the Lunch Break! Group B Breakout Sessions 1. Abuse and Violence Against People with Disabilities CEU 2. Real Choice System Change Grant/Sec. 811 Accessible Housing CEU

3. Financial and Legal Strategies to Facilitate Independent Living 4. How to Emphasize the ‘D’ in ADRC CEU


1:00 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Plaza A Bordeaux Plaza B, C Normandy

At-A-Glance Schedule Monday, April 23


2:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.


Break and Visit Exhibitors

2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. Group C Breakout Sessions 1. The Power of the Disability Vote CEU 2. Community Integration and Personal Safety CEU 3. CIL and DARS Independent Living Staff Plenary Session: Building Relationships Region by Region CEU 4. I’m Walking as Straight as I Can: Transcending Disability in Hollywood and Beyond

Plaza A Bordeaux Plaza B, C Normandy

3:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Break and Visit Exhibitors

4:00 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. General Session: Your Medicaid, Your Responsibility – Speak up or Get Left Out! CEU

Plaza Ballroom

5:15 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Dinner Break and Site-Seeing

7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Plaza A, B

“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” -James Baldwin


Evening Reception Raffles and Giveaways

At-A-Glance Schedule Tuesday, April 24 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

Room Foyer

Complimentary Breakfast

8:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m.


Registration and Raffle Tickets

8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Opening Announcements and Introductions: • Saul Herrera, SILC Chair • Randell Resneder, SILC Conference Committee Chair • Regina Blye, SILC Executive Director • Keynote Speaker: Jim Dickson, American Association of People with Disabilities

10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

Plaza Ballroom


Break and Visit Exhibitors

10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Exhibit Visits and Stipend Recipient Meeting

Plaza A Plaza B, C Normandy Bordeaux Somerset Champagne 14

Group D Breakout Sessions 1. Strategies for Success During Service (AmeriCorps, VISTA, RSVP Programs) CEU 2. Adjusting to a Mobility Disability and its Sexual Impact CEU 3. Using the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment in CILs as a Tool for Goal Setting and Prioritizing CEU 4. Rehab Council Solicitation of Public Input 5. Benefits of Adaptive Recreational Sports CEU

At-A-Glance Schedule Tuesday, April 24 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Awards Luncheon • Outstanding Achievement by a Service Provider • Civic/Community Service • Consumer/Person of the Year • What Independent Living Means to Me: Video Competition The Big Reveal!

1:30 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. • Raffles and Giveaways • Closing Remarks

Room Plaza Ballroom

Plaza Ballroom


“Placing one foot in front of the other, I've climbed to higher lengths. Reaching beyond my own limitations, to show my inner strength. No obstacle too hard, for this warrior to overcome. I'm just a man on a mission, to prove my disability hasn't won.” - Robert M. Hensel

Session Descriptions Monday, April 23: Group A: 10:30-11:45 a.m. Did you know Texas has a dual-funded residential service system? Unlike other states in the US, Texas funds 13 State Supported Living Centers (SSLC), as well as community-based and independent living for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Guess which entity gets the most funding? Guess which entity needs the most funding? The presentation will include: • Insight into the SSLC's; • Detailed discussion about residential services in Texas; • Steps you can take to advocate for change;


Kimberly McCaffrey, M. Ed.


A-2. TDHCA’s HOME and Housing Trust Fund Programs (Bordeaux with facilitator Crystal Choi)


A-3. Home Modifications & Assistive Technology in the Home (Plaza B & C with facilitator Saul Herrera)


The HOME Program has set-aside annual funding for persons with disabilities which can be used for tenant-based rental assistance, home modification, and homebuyer assistance. The Housing Trust Fund provides the Amy Young Barrier Removal Program, which provides accessibility modifications for persons with disabilities. • TDHCA offers opportunities specifically for persons with disabilities to receive housing assistance; • TDHCA provides funding to local providers to administer its program activities. Centers for Independent Living (CILs) are potential providers and should apply for TDHCA funds when they may become available;

How accessible is your home? Would making your home accessible be too costly? What are some ways that a person with a disability can make their house more accessible without tearing down walls? In this session: • Ms. Hubert will explain to attendees how to better determine the accessibility needs of the homeowner/consumer. Attendees will also learn ways that assistive technology (AT) can make a home more usable by a person with a disability. • Ms. Verdone will focus on products and techniques that give people with disabilities access to their home without having to make structural changes. This presentation will discuss the benefits and limitations of a non-structural change approach to home modification.

Kate Moore, Policy Specialist at TDHCA & Ashley Schweickart, Coordinator, Housing and Health Services Coordination Council for TDHCA CEU

Naomi Hubert, M.Ed, Easter Seals Central Texas & Antoinette Verdone, Rehabilitation Engineer, New Life Medical Equipment CEU


A-1. Texas Institutions: Neglected and Rejected (Plaza A with facilitator Richard Couder)

Session Descriptions Session Descriptions Monday, April 23: Group B: 1:00-2:15 p.m. B-3. Financial and Legal Strategies to Facilitate Independent Living (Plaza B & C with facilitator Saul Herrera)


Tresi Weeks, Attorney and owner of The Weeks Law Firm, PLLC

The purpose of this presentation is to educate families about: • What a Special Needs Trust (SNT) is, who needs it, and why it’s needed; • How to set-up, fund, and administer the SNT; • How an SNT can enhance the quality of life of a person living B-1. Abuse and Violence Against People with Disabilities Speaker: independently; Robbi Barrutia, (Plaza A with facilitator Richard • How to coordinate parents’ wills andCouder) other documents with the SNT; Executive This• session willunderstanding bring to light of thehow dangerous phenomenon of abuseisand violence A basic Medicaid and SSI eligibility affected by Director of againstgifts, people disabilities. Ms. Barrutia will focus on recognizing signs of life with insurance or inheritance; Idaho SILC abuse, responding, and families forming can collaborations to prevent these ainstances. • Other legal steps take to ensure or enhance person’s Attendees will be able to: including powers of attorney and the use of limited independent living, • Gain further understanding of what is known about abuse towards this guardianships, if desired; population; • How Examine what can bethe done the part of support systems and Speakers: B-4. to Emphasize ‘D’on in ADRC organizations to prevent further instances of abuse and violence; Luis Chew, (Normandy with facilitator Michelle Crain) • Discuss how collaborations can be formed in the community to better Executive The great majority of Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) are CEU protectby individuals with disabilities; Director of administered Area Agencies on Aging. The Center for Medicaid and Medicare VOLAR, B-2. Choice System Change 811 Accessible (CMS) Real has recommended a greater emphasisGrant/Sec. on the ‘D’ in ADRC because of a Speakers: Andrea Kate Moore, perceived imbalance of that emphasis. The FarCrystal West Texas ADTRC is an example Housing (Bordeaux with facilitator Choi) Ramirez, Policy of a balanced program that interacts and collaborates with disability service The waiting list for a Section 8 voucher is a mile long for many Texans, but the Director of Specialist at organizations, particularly Center forplace Independent will distance between a safe VOLAR and affordable to live Living. isn’t asThis farsession for many ADRC, & Marc TDHCA & focus on best to improve collaboration efforts between individuals withpractices disabilities. This session will focusand on support two independent living Gold, DADS Steve Ashman, ARDCs and Centers for Independent Living using VOLAR as a model. opportunities: (1) The Project Access Program and (2) CMS Real Choice Systems MFP Change Grant. Ms. Moore and Mr. Ashman will discuss the existing and future CEU Demonstration opportunities for persons with disabilities to receive housing assistance that is Project connected to assistance from other services. Director, DADS CEU


Monday, April 23: Group B: 1:00-2:15 p.m.

Monday, April 23: Group C: 2:30-3:45 p.m. C-1. The Power of the Disability Vote: A General Overview of Speakers: Jessica Gomez, Voter ID (Plaza A with facilitator Richard Couder)

Voting Rights Specialist, & Ginger Mayeaux, Training and Tech Support Specialist at Disability Rights Texas CEU


The purpose of this presentation is to ensure that Texans with disabilities are fully informed about their voting rights under the law and are fully prepared to cast ballots in the 2012 elections. Ms. Gomez and Ms. Mayeaux will: • Share a hotline number that voters can call with questions or concerns about their rights; • Share stories of challenges that people with disabilities have encountered by the voting process and how Disability Rights Texas has helped people overcome these challenges and become engaged voters; • Discuss “what ifs” pertaining to voter ID law and its status for being cleared by the federal government;

Session Descriptions Monday, April 23: Group C: 2:30-3:45 p.m. C-2. Community Integration and Personal Safety (Bordeaux with facilitator Crystal Choi)

Safeplace recently began a three-year pilot project designed to create opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities to establish relationships in the community through shared activities and interests. This session will reveal findings that support community integration and groups which focus on personal safety/healthy relationships for people who have developmental disabilities. Attendees will have the opportunity to become more familiar with this project and learn about the impact of community integration techniques, as well as barriers to progress, and discuss strategies to help individuals with disabilities develop their social networks.

C-3. CILs and DARS Independent Living Staff Plenary Session: Building Relationships Region by Region (Plaza B & C with facilitator Saul Herrera) The quality and impact of your work depends upon healthy relationships with consumers, co-workers, and stakeholders. Partnering and certain collaborations offer opportunities for growth, but they also pose new challenges. This session will help you revitalize existing relationships, and look at ways to create clear paths of communication to achieve results.


Heather Kamper, LMSW-IPR, Disability Services Training Specialist/Educato r at SafePlace & Nancy Crowther, Volunteer and Consultant CEU


Lance Hamilos, DARS Program Specialist & Regina Blye Texas SILC Executive Director CEU

C-4. I’m Walking as Straight as I Can: Transcending Speaker: Geri Jewell, Disability in Hollywood and Beyond Actress, Author, & (Normandy with facilitator Marshall Mitchell)

*General Session: 4:00 – 5:15 pm* rd

83 Texas Legislative Session: Your Medicaid, Your Responsibility; Speak Up or Get Left Out! (Plaza Ballroom)

In this session, attendees will: • Gain knowledge of Medicaid and its impact to Texas citizens and communities; • Learn ways Texas can increase revenues; • Understand how to participate in both campaigns;



Geri Jewell is the first person with a disability to have a regular role on a prime time series, “The Facts of Life” in the 1980s. After her ground breaking role on “Facts” she has appeared on such shows as “Young and the Restless”, “Strong Medicine”, the HBO hit series, “Deadwood”, and most recently, the television series, “Alcatrez.” When Geri is not working in television as an actress, producer, and writer, she is a highly sought-after motivational speaker in the areas of disability and diversity. Geri is famous for her ability to captivate the hearts of her audiences by using humor to facilitate attitudinal change. Ms. Jewell will discuss her book, sign copies, and be available to answer questions from attendees.


Dennis Borel, Executive Director of CTD & Kymberlie Quong Charles, LMSW, Coordinator for Texas Forward CEU

Session Descriptions Tuesday, April 24: Group D: 10:15-11:35 a.m. D-1. Strategies for Success During Service (AmeriCorps and RVSP) (Plaza A with facilitator, Richard Couder) This presentation will include an overview of the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), VISTA, and AmeriCorps programs and their missions. All the programs utilize the talents, skills, and available time of persons from diverse backgrounds and age groups to address critical needs in local communities. Prior to the overview, Mr. Herrera will discuss how his disability has motivated not only volunteers and staff, but community leaders to volunteer and seek out potential future volunteers.


Saul Herrera, Retired Senior Volunteer Program and Suzanne Potts, OneStar Foundation CEU

D-2. Adjusting to a Mobility Disability and its Sexual Impact (Plaza B, C with facilitator Emily Wolinsky)


D-3. Using the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment in CILs as a Tool for Goal Setting and Prioritizing (Normandy with facilitator Shannon Alexander)


Michelle With this discussion, Ms. Szumski will cover key elements about disability and Szumski, M.Ed. sexuality, specifically safety in dating, how relationships change when a partner acquires a disability, and the negative attitudes towards individuals who are disabled and considered sexual. Attendees will gain a greater understanding of: • Adjusting to a disability as a couple; • Exploring how sexuality stays the same and is different in the presence of CEU a disability;

D-4. Rehab Council Solicitation of Public Input (Bordeaux with facilitator Crystal Choi)

This session will give a brief overview of the Rehabilitation Council of Texas (RCT) and why it is mandated. Ms. Gentry will also discuss the Council’s role and partnership with DARS vocational rehabilitation programs and why stakeholder input is vital to the success of both entities. Participants will leave the session understanding the purpose of the RCT and who to call if they want to give input in the future.

D-5. Benefits of Adaptive Recreational Sports (Somerset with facilitator Jim Batchelor)



Elizabeth Gentry, Rehabilitation Council of Texas member


Paul Gray, CEO of RISE Mr. Gray will have a variety of adaptive recreational sports equipment on display Adventures and a flat screen television that will run a video of the different sports programs RISE puts on for people with disabilities. The benefits of therapeutic recreation CEU will be discussed. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions.


Centers for Independent Living (CILs) staff will be introduced to the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment (ACLSA) and how it can be applied to the work typically performed in CILs. The session will focus on: • How to choose and how to use the ACLSA; • Using the score report for a conversation about goal planning; • Where to find resources for additional support;

Jackie Pacha, M.A., CRC, Executive Director of the Brazos Valley CIL

Speaker Bios Regina Blye Regina Blye is the Executive Director of the Texas State Independent Living Council (SILC), and current Chair of SILC Congress, a national group dedicated to improving the effectiveness of SILCs. Blye is also a board member of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, a grassroots advocacy organization, and a Presidential appointee to the U.S. Access Board, an independent federal agency that provides leadership in accessible design under the ADA and other laws. Dennis Borel Dennis Borel has nearly 30 years of experience as a senior manager of nonprofit organizations during which time his programs have received numerous state recognitions and national awards. He is frequently called upon for research, policy analysis, and recommendations to the Texas legislature and state agencies on issues surrounding disabilities, and he has been a soldier in the fight for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in community life. He is Executive Director of Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. Kymberlie Quong Charles, LMSW Kymberlie Quong Charles joined the Center for Public Policy Priorities in 2009. She is the coordinator for Texas Forward, a project of the Center for Public Policy Priorities that advocates for public investments that improve people's lives. Charles completed a master’s degree in Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin and received her undergraduate degree in Peace and Global Studies from Earlham College. Before returning to graduate school, Charles coordinated Membership and Outreach for Education for a Just Peace in the Middle East in Washington, D.C.

Geri Jewell *Keynote* Born with cerebral palsy, Geri Jewell inspired a generation of young people when she became the first person with a disability to appear in a recurring role on prime-time television, with her ground-breaking character “Cousin Geri” on the NBC sitcom “The Facts of Life.” After her role on “Facts,” she appeared on such shows as “Sesame Street,” “The Young and the Restless,” and the HBO hit series “Deadwood.” She has been the recipient of many awards, including the 1992 Founders Award and the 2005 Independent Living Legacy Award.


Jim Dickson *Keynote* As Vice President of Organizing and Civic Engagement with the American Association of People with Disabilities, Jim Dickson leads AAPD's nonpartisan Disability Vote Project, a broad coalition of 36 national disability-related organizations whose mission is to close the political participation gap for people with disabilities. The project focuses on voter registration and education, get-out-the-vote drives, election reform and polling place access. Dickson is a graduate of Brown University and he resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife and daughter.

Jerry Allen Dallas City Councilman Jerry Allen has served District 10 since 2007. He is currently the Chairman of the Budget, Finance, and Audit Committee, and has served on the DART Board of Directors. Allen is former President and Treasurer of the Exchange Club of Lake Highlands and has been actively involved with local schools, receiving the Lake Highlands High School PTA Wildcat Award. Allen is attending the Statewide Independent Living Conference because, “he has a passion for the independent living mission and philosophy.� Steve Ashman Steve Ashman works in the Promoting Independence Office of the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) as the Project Director for the Money Follows the Person Demonstration. Ashman is also the housing liaison to the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs and is the Housing Coordinator for the health and human services system. Before DADS, Ashman was the Director of the Division of Senior and Disabilities Services at the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. Chamane Barrow Chamane Barrow is the Associate Director of the Brazoria County Center for Independent Living in Angleton, Texas. She has worked at the BCCIL since it opened in 1998, and has more than 25 years of direct involvement in the disability rights and equal opportunity field for people with disabilities. Barrow is one of 20 Mobility Management Independent Living Coaches working nationwide to educate state mobility managers about transportation issues from an independent living and disability perspective.

Luis Enrique Chew Luis Chew is the Executive Director of Volar Center for Independent Living, where he started as a consumer, peer counselor, and board member, and was later hired as an Employment Consultant. He has worked in the field of Independent Living services for 23 years. Chew has served on several state boards, and, in 2003, he received the Minority Business Advocate of the year award from the El Paso Hispanic and the Greater El Paso chambers of commerce presented by Congressman Silvestre Reyes.


Robbi Barrutia Robbi Barrutia is Executive Director of the Idaho SILC and member of the National Council on Independent Living Task Force Against Violence and Abuse. She was Project Director for the 2006 Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women grant. Through collaboration and coalition building, Barrutia has provided cross training, resource development, policies and procedures guidance, and educational opportunities to domestic violence programs and CILs. Barrutia served in the Idaho House of Representatives from 1992-1996 and the Idaho State Senate from 1996-2002.

Peggy Cosner Peggy Cosner is the Executive Director of the Heart of Central Texas Independent Living Center (HOCTIL) and Chair of the Texas Association of Centers for Independent Living (TACIL). HOCTIL serves the central Texas counties of Bell, Coryell, McLennan, and Hill. Cosner has been working for people with disabilities for more than 30 years, where she began her career at an Arc in Michigan. She is a key partner of the Central Texas Aging Disability Resource Center and is a Texas SILC board member. Nancy Crowther For 26 years, Nancy Crowther has developed programs for access to all facets of the Austin community. Her engagement into community organizing and independent living began with ARCIL and ended at Capital Metro. She volunteers with numerous agencies and does consulting work for SafePlace. In 2007, for her contributions to accessibility, Crowther received the Governor’s Trophy, the Governor’s Committee’s highest honor awarded to the person who has achieved the highest success in enhancing the empowerment and employment of Texans with disabilities. Elizabeth Gentry, MA, LMFT Elizabeth Gentry has served Texans for more than 25 years. She completed her master’s degree in counseling at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and has held a license in Marriage and Family Therapy since 1992. She is currently serving her second term on the Rehabilitation Council of Texas. Her most important role is that of parent to a daughter with special needs, for whom she continues to be a voice.


Jessica Gomez Jessica Gomez is a Voting Rights Policy Specialist at Disability Rights Texas, the federally designated state protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities. Gomez began her work at Disability Rights Texas as the Voting Rights Training and Technical Support Specialist, and traveled throughout the state to train people with all types of disabilities on their voting rights, conducted accessibility surveys of polling places, and trained poll workers on how to best serve voters with disabilities. Gomez has a master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard University.

Paul Gray Paul Gray is the creator, CEO, and full-time volunteer of RISE Adventures. A year after retiring in 2006, Gray’s vast business experience, and dedication to the disability community led him to form RISE Adventures, whose mission is to help people with physical challenges gain independence and become productive citizens through therapeutic learning experiences. He has witnessed the vast transformation of wheelchair sports and equipment available in the past into the sophisticated adaptive devices available today.

Lance Hamilos Lance Hamilos has worked as a professional in the field of rehabilitation for more than 32 years. As a vocational evaluator, he assisted consumers with various physical and mental disabilities and their vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors to identify employment matches and necessary supports. For the past 12 years, he has served as Central Office Program Specialist for Division of Rehabilitative Services, assisting field staff in the provision of VR and independent living services. He is currently the Program Specialist for Independent Living Services. Saul Herrera MORE about his qualifications SILC Chair Saul Herrera is employed at Community & Senior Services of Midland, Inc. where he serves as the Project Director for the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program. He serves on numerous boards and councils, including the 211 Texas Advisory Council, Midland-Odessa Urban Transit District Board, Knights of Columbus, and Midland Chamber of Commerce Special Events. Herrera attended the Cerebral Palsy Center where he received a regular education, plus physical and occupational therapy, and was later mainstreamed into the public school system. Naomi Hubert, M.Ed. Naomi Hubert has most recently served as the Housing Programs Director for Easter Seals Central Texas. She has more than 15 years of experience with organizations providing services to people with disabilities, and 14 years of experience in housing services, including serving as Housing Coordinator and Modification Specialist with the Central Texas Accessible Design Alliance project of United Cerebral Palsy Association of the Capitol Area.

Ginger Mayeaux As a Voting Rights Training and Technical Support Specialist for Disability Rights Texas, Ginger Mayeaux also teaches multiple audiences (including: people with disabilities, providers and support staff, election officials, and parents) about the importance of voting and their voting rights. She began her career in disability rights, working as the Advocacy Coordinator and Community Organizer for The Arc of Texas, where she conducted trainings on legislative advocacy, and supported advocates locally and at the state capitol.


Heather Kamper, LMSW-IPR Heather Kamper is the Disability Services Training Specialist/Educator of SafePlace in Austin. At SafePlace, Kamper works to create safer communities by conducting presentations to people with disabilities and professionals. Training and educational topics focus on increasing personal safety, healthy relationships and sexuality education with people who have disabilities, maximizing accessibility of services, identifying and responding to violence and abuse and examining the unique dynamics of violence perpetrated against people with disabilities.

Kim McCaffrey, M. Ed. Kimberly McCaffrey is a recent graduate from The University of Texas at Austin. She obtained a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counselor Education. Currently, Kimberly is working as an Employability Specialist at Goodwill Industries of Central Texas in Austin serving at-risk youth. She has a passion for working with people who have barriers to education and work, especially people with disabilities.

Kate Moore Kate Moore has more than 10 years of experience in affordable housing policy and is the Policy Advisor in the Housing Resource Center of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. At TDHCA, Moore coordinates the Disability Advisory Workgroup and the Rural Housing Workgroup. She has recently worked on the Real Choice System Grant from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services to increase opportunities for affordable housing for persons with disabilities in Texas through the HUD 811 program. Jackie Pacha, M.A., CRC Jackie Pacha is the Executive Director of the Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living, a research associate with the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University, and a current Ph.D. candidate. Her background includes education, training, and personal experience within a wide range of topics related to Independent Living, including sign language interpreting, teaching and principal certifications, teaching Adaptive and Assistive Technology at Texas A&M, and experience working as an IL and vocational rehabilitation counselor with DARS.

Andrea Ramirez, LPC Andrea Ramirez is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Professional Dependency Counselor. She is currently the Director of the Aging and Disability Transportation Resource Center of El Paso and Far West Texas. She is currently in private practice at the Counseling Center of Expressive Arts and specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with adults, children, families, and couples. She uses various interventions such as art, sand, and play therapy.


Suzanne Potts, MSW, MPH Suzanne Potts is a Senior Program Manager at OneStar Foundation who serves as the State Disability Coordinator for AmeriCorps*Texas. She has worked as a medical social worker for over 15 years and has experience bringing supports and resources to underserved populations. She convenes a statewide Inclusion Team for Texas to oversee and advise OneStar Foundation on Disability Inclusion funding from the Corporation on National and Community Service. This team provides training, technical assistance, outreach and resources to the portfolio of AmeriCorps*Texas grantees and disability organizations across Texas.

Randell Resneder Randell Resneder is SILC Vice Chair, founder and Executive Director of Disability Awareness Programs of Texas, and a past member of the Texas Council for Exceptional Children Nominating Committee. Resneder received a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas and a master’s degree in instructional technology from Texas Tech University. He is passionate in his participation in the Independent Living Movement and has a strong voice for programs such as Disability Awareness. Ashley Schweickart Ashley Schweickart coordinates the Housing and Health Services Coordination Council for the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. The Council’s mission is to increase service-enriched housing for persons with disabilities and the elderly. In addition, Schweickart works in the Housing Resource Center on affordable housing and community development policies, state and federal reporting, and legislative priorities. Prior to joining TDHCA, Schweickart worked for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Councilmember Richard Alarcon. Michelle Szumski, M.Ed. Michelle Szumski is currently working for the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services with clients and/or their counselors to find assistive technology solutions, medical treatments, or psychosocial adjustments through counseling and to adjust to the fact that their life has changed. She has a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from The University of Texas at Austin, and she will be receiving her LPC and CRC licensure soon. Four years ago, Szumski acquired a disability called Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy.

Tresi Weeks Tresi Moore Weeks is an attorney and founder of The Weeks Law Firm, PLLC in Richardson, Texas. In addition to personalized estate planning, the firm helps families with children with special needs plan and provide for the care of their child, with special needs trusts or other appropriate estate planning tools. As a mother of a child with special needs, Weeks became involved in issues faced by similar families. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Advisory Council for Disability Rights Texas.


Antoinette Verdone, MSBME, ATP Antoinette Verdone has 12 years of experience in the assistive technology industry. Before moving to Austin in 2012, Verdone worked for a state agency and a nonprofit providing assistive technology service delivery. Verdone has a background in engineering and is now working for New Life Medical Equipment, providing assistive technology sales and service in the areas of seating and mobility, home accommodations, computer access, and jobsite accommodation.

Special Thanks and Acknowledgments

To our Partners: -New Life Medical Equipment -National Federation of the Blind of Texas -In-Home Attendant Services, LTD -HealthSpring -Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities

-Amerigroup -Austin Mobility Solutions of Texas -BEK Medical, Inc. -Texas Association of Centers for Independent Living -Pate Rehabilitation

To our Exhibitors: -Santos Mobility & More, LLC -Southwest Center for Higher Independence -Relay Texas -Giggles Therapy Autism Treatment Center -Lift Aids, Inc. -DRS Rehabilitation Technology Resource Center -Superior HealthPlan -CIL Management Suite -The University of Texas at Austin -United Rehab Specialists, Inc.

-Advanced Mobility Systems of Texas -American Foundation for the Blind -Talking Book Program -Alamo Consumer Direct -DARS Office for Deaf & Hard of Hearing Services -Texas A & M University, Bridge to Career in Human Services -D & S Community Services -UnitedHealthcare -VSA Texas

We again want to thank everyone for your support.

Without your kindness and generosity, we would not be able to have this ground-breaking conference, offer these important sessions, and provide giveaways and Texas hospitality!


To our Volunteers and In-Kind Donors:

Champions for Persons with Acquired Brain Injuries Outpatient Treatment Center & Corporate Offices 2655 Villa Creek Drive, Suite 140 Dallas, Texas 75234


Telephone: 972-241-9334 or 800-992-1149

14 El Paso, TX 915-599-1129

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