SPRINGFIELD - The University of Illinois at Springfield will host a number of activities from April 7 through 11 in observance of Disability Awareness Week.
Events include a wheelchair race; art experiences; presentations on assistive technology, advocacy, and accessible fitness equipment; 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 people with mobility impairments.
Events for Monday, April 7, begin with the annual Youth Transition Fair, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Public Affairs Center concourse. Co-sponsored by the UIS Office of Disability Services and the Sangamon County Transition 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. Representatives from more than 30 agencies that assist people with disabilities have been invited to the fair. This year, students will also have opportunities to meet people working in various careers and to talk with them about what it takes to be successful.
Later, from 3 to 6 p.m. in the PAC outdoor quad area, the Second Annual Wheelchair-A-Thon will feature six- to ten-member teams navigating an obstacle course of miscellaneous hurdles as many times as possible in three hours. The event is designed to foster awareness for people with disabilities on campus and within the community.
Events on Tuesday, April 8, include two speakers and an art experience. From 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in PAC H, Carol Schaefer will speak on "Growing up with Asperger's Syndrome: A Family Affair." Schaefer is the mother of a college student with Asperger's Syndrome. She will address some of the challenges and rewards Asperger's families face, and will talk specifically about challenges in the educational system and her efforts to help her own daughter succeed.
From 1 to 2 p.m., also in PAC H, Suzanne Woods, visiting director of Disability Services at UIS, will lead a session titled "How to Be Assertive without Being Aggressive." Woods, who has been involved in disability advocacy since the birth of her son 29 years ago, will discuss ways to work with the system in order to obtain necessary services, as well as political advocacy and the role it can play in bringing about change.
Also on Tuesday, from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Lincoln Residence Hall lounge, Color Me Blind! will give participants an opportunity to experience art on an entirely different level by envisioning a subject, then painting it without physically seeing.
The movie "Kiss My Wheels" will be shown from 7 to 9 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium. The film follows the Zia Hot Shots, a nationally ranked junior wheelchair basketball team, through a season of training, competition, and dealing with personal issues. Brookens Auditorium is located on the lower level of Brookens Library at UIS.
Events on Wednesday, April 9, begin with "Low Tech to High Tech: Assistive Technology is More Than You Think" from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in PAC H. Cilla Sluga, a representative of the Illinois Assistive Technology Program, will give a presentation/demonstration of what assistive technology really is, and the wide range of possibilities, from the very simple to the very complex.
An overview of career development and employment for individuals with disabilities will be offered from noon to 1:30 p.m. in room 50 of the Student Affairs Building on the east side of campus. "Putting Ability to Work: Disability, Career Development and Employment" will include tips on resumes, interviewing, networking, research, and disclosure. Charmaine Gray of the UIS Career Development Center will lead the discussion.
From 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the campus' Recreation and Athletic Center, Assistant Director of Recreational Sports Amanda Jillson will lead an overview of the various fitness equipment and classes available at the TRAC that can be modified to meet individual needs and ability levels.
A session at 9:30 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium will feature motivational speaker Matt Glowacki, who will present "According to South Park and The Family Guy." Born without legs, Glowacki has nevertheless been involved in community activities from the age of three. His achievements include becoming an Eagle Scout, earning a college degree, participating in the Paralympics, maintaining a busy speaking schedule, and running a business.
On Thursday April 10, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in PAC H, UIS graduate Linda Cisco will speak on "Living with Epilepsy." Cisco, who has epilepsy, raised two daughters and is active in the community and in her church. She will also discuss how participating in a drug study made a difference in her life.
Vince Flammini, social worker and counselor, will talk about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder from 1 to 2 p.m. in PAC H. Flammini will debunk some of the myths surrounding ADHD and will also discuss interacting with people with this diagnosis.
From 3 to 5 p.m. in the LRH Great Room, another art experience will focus on Model Me Blind/Blind Clay Modeling.
Thursday's activities conclude with a reprise of "Kiss My Wheels" from 7 to 9 p.m. in Brookens Auditorium.
Disability Awareness Week events wrap up on Friday, April 11, with an open house hosted by UIS' Office of Disability Services from noon to 2 p.m. in room 80 of the Human Resources Building, located on the east side of campus. During the open house, staff will offer demonstrations and informational sessions on the various adaptive technology and services available through ODS.
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).