SPRINGFIELD – The University of Illinois at Springfield will host a number of activities from April 23 through 27 in observance of Disability Awareness Week. Events range from a wheelchair basketball game to an art experience, an adaptive baseball game, an award-winning movie, stress relief workshops, a comedy show, and a community resource fair on transitioning from high school to independent living. All events will be held on the UIS campus and are free and open to the public. All facilities are fully accessible to the mobility-impaired.
Karla Carwile, director of Disability Services at UIS, noted, "We solidify our commitment to taking full advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of our students, faculty, staff, and community members by promoting greater diversity and inclusiveness whenever and wherever possible. It is our thought that we can create advantages from our differences to build richer, broader common values and goals."
Events for Monday, April 23, begin with the annual Youth Transition Fair, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Public Affairs Center conference room C/D. Co-sponsored by the UIS Office of Disability Services and the Sangamon County Transitional Planning Committee, the fair is an opportunity for students, families, school staff, and service providers associated with teens with disabilities to learn more about effectively planning the transition to life as a young adult. Several agencies that assist people with disabilities have been invited to the fair, and students who attend can obtain information on community services and resources available to them after high school.
From 3 to 6 p.m. in the Great Room of Lincoln Residence Hall, the presentation Color Me Blind! will give participants an opportunity to experience art on an entirely different level.
Events on Tuesday, April 24, include an open house and a screening of the movie "Ray."
UIS' Office of Disability Services will host an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. in room 80 of the Human Resources Building, located on the east side of campus. During the open house, ODS staff will offer various adaptive technology demonstrations and informational sessions.
"Ray" will be shown from 7 to 9:30 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium. Jamie Foxx won the 2004 Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of American music legend Ray Charles in this biographical drama.
Events on Wednesday, April 25, include a Stress Relief Workshop from 12:15 to 1 p.m. in PAC C/D. The program will approach fitness, wellness, and stress relief through qi kung (a combination of controlled breathing, focused concentration, and simple movement), and modern, hip hop, and creative dance and is adapted to every ability and skill level.
From 1 to 4 p.m. the campus will host the First Annual Wheelchair-A-Thon, designed to foster awareness for people with disabilities at UIS and within the community. In the event, six- to ten-member teams navigate an obstacle course of miscellaneous hurdles as many times as possible in three hours.
Also on Wednesday, the Tenth Annual Exhibition Wheelchair Basketball Game will pit the UIUC Fighting Illini wheelchair basketball team against the UIS Wheelies, a team of faculty, staff, students, and local celebrities. The game begins at 6:30 p.m. in the UIS Gym. A half-time show at 7:30 p.m. will feature performers from TurnOut Movement Arts Studio and the Getting' Down class recently featured in the State Journal Register's Heartland section.
On Thursday, April 26, the Beep Ball Baseball Classic will be played beginning at 11 a.m. at the UIS softball complex (Land of Lincoln Junior Olympic Softball Complex). Beep ball is an adaptive version of baseball for the blind and visually impaired.
From 4 to 6 p.m. in the Lincoln Residence Hall Great Room, Kent Roberts will speak on "10 Ideas in 10 Seconds: ADD as a Wellspring of Creativity." Roberts will discuss strengths and challenges presented by ADD through the lens of creativity, as a general thought process, and as a professional field.
At the same location, from 7 to 9 p.m. "Murderball, the Documentary" presents a look at tough, highly competitive rugby players who just happen to be quadriplegics. The film won the Documentary Audience Award and a Special Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. The film will be followed by a panel discussion forum.
On Friday, April 27, an Asperger Syndrome: Transitions Conference, designed for anyone who is interested in learning more about Asperger's and the autistic spectrum, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in PAC C/D. The presenters are Maureen Donehey and Jack Donehey-Nykiel, who is a person with Asperger's. Topics will include Asperger's in and out of the classroom; DSM-what is Asperger's; meltdowns; accommodations; social aspects of Asperger's; the Asperger-autism connection; what parents see at home, but teachers don't understand; preparing the student for the school and the school for the student; coping in the classroom; and more.
From 2 to 3 p.m. a reprise of the Stress Relief Workshop will be presented in the LRH Great Room.
Disability Awareness Week wraps up with the comedy show "Late Nights at the Mirror Café," a stop on the Spring 2007 ADD Detour, beginning at 6 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium. Comedian Kent Roberts delivers an honest and poignantly funny commentary on experience and self-perception, touching on ADD but geared toward a general audience. Roberts has performed his solo show to rave reviews at venues across the country; critics have hailed it as "a classic," a "comedic tour de force," and "genius." The reviewer for GO Brooklyn noted that Roberts' performing style "turns hyperactivity into an art form."
Co-sponsors of Disability Awareness Week 2007 include the Sangamon Country Transition Planning Committee; TurnOut Movement Arts Studio; and the UIS Division of Student Affairs, Student Government Association, Office of Housing and Residential Life, Diversity Task Force, Student Life Office, Speakers' Bureau, and Human Services Program.
Disability Services at UIS provides academic accommodations to students with documented disabilities. Through inclusion, advocacy, and support, ODS strives to provide postsecondary education and accommodation to all students by offering an environment that enriches the educational experience. With this support, students become functionally independent as well as self-advocating in both educational and personal pursuits.For more information about ODS or any Disability Awareness Week event, contact Disability Services at 206-6666 (TTY 206-6668).