2018 TASH Conference Highlights

We do as much as we can here at TASH, but we are a small organization. The real power of TASH is in all of you! And nothing is so powerful, and nothing fills us with so much pride and excitement as getting all of you together to show what is possible when you combine deep dedication, far-sighted principles and the best information in service of the rights of people with disabilities. Here is our look-back at the 2018 TASH Conference.

Wednesday Workshops

A photograph of Oz Mondejar opening the Employment Track of the Wednesday Workshops. He is standing against a black curtain and is illuminated by the light of a projector with a screen over his shoulder.

With TASH and TransCen’s YES! Center taking a major role in working on transition and employment issues at the Conference, the Employment Track featured a number of important, high-powered events such as the a panel discussion of WIOA Advisory Committee Members and the “Employment Extravaganza” (see below for more on each).

The Employment Track in our Wednesday Workshops (and throughout the conference) was introduced by Oswald Mondejar (pictured above).

WIOA Advisory Panel

A photograph of the WIOA advisory panel. It is after the panel and the four are posing, leaning together with their arms around one another.

One of the outstanding events of the Employment Track was our reconvening of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Advisory Committee to consider the progress and needs of people with disabilities in employment since the passage of WIOA. Left to right: David Mank, Ruby Moore, Cesilee Coulson, Valerie Brooke and Oz Mondejar.

Employment Extravaganza

A photograph of Chris Brandt and Ivanova Smith addressing the Employment Workshop from a stage full of applauding people.

Over 60 employers and employees from the Pacific Northwest were in attendance for the Employment Extravaganza. Check out this link to view the Facebook Live from Wise!

Film Festival

A photograph of David Savarese accepting the Positive Images in the Media Award. TASH staff member Donald Taylor hands him a plaque on a black curtained stage. A photograph of Micah Fialka-Feldman accepting the Positive Images in the Media Award. TASH staff member Donald Taylor hands him a plaque on a black curtained stage.

We have continued our tradition of hosting a film festival on Wednesday evening as an occasion to showcase the work of cinematographers working to advance the cause of inclusion and equity. To further the cause, TASH give our Positive Images in the Media Award. This year we couldn’t help but give it to two outstanding films: Deej and Intelligent Lives. You can watch previews for each film and find out how to host a screening of the films in full at the links.

Here David Savarese (left) and Micah Fialka-Feldman (right) accept the wards for their respective teams.

Additionally, we previewed the film, Hearts of Glass, which we hope to see in its entirety soon.

So Many Great Breakout Sessions

There are so many great events at the TASH Conference, but the core of the Conference is the over 150 breakout sessions presented by individuals or small groups.

Here are photographs from two of the most well-attended sessions:

A photograph of Lydia Brown and Shain Neumeier at the front of a crowded room. Lydia is at the podium and Shain is sitting at the head table.

Shain Neumeier (left) and Lydia X. Z. Brown (right) at their session, Advocacy WITH: Learning from the Neurodiversity and Self-Advocacy Movements.

A photograph of Ty Warner passing out tomatoes from Vertical Harvest to the audience at his presentation.

Ty Warner hands out tomatoes that he and the team at Vertical Harvest grew, during his session, Storytelling Through Film: Documenting a Wyoming Community Story of Innovation and Employment.

Let’s Connect Luncheons

The TASH Conference isn’t just about expert and practitioner presentations: it’s about all the opportunities for people to learn from peers, connect with one another and form the relationships that will blossom into future accomplishments for inclusion and equity. For that reason, we try to create plenty of informal opportunities for attendees, one of the major ones being the Let’s Connect Luncheons.

A photograph of the Self-Advocacy Let's Connect Luncheon. A medium-sized group of people sitting at round tables in a small conference room.

Self Advocacy Forum

The TASH Conference is not just informational. It is a chance for us to meet, make plans and get work done. There are meetings for Chapters, Committees, constituencies, publishers and other work-groups. Here the Self-Advocacy Forum considers their activism agenda for the coming year.

A photograph of the Self-Advocacy Forum: a group of people in audience seating with some of them at the front of the room working on a variety of papers.


Conference-going can’t be all business and cramming information into our brains: we need an opportunity to unwind and have fun after the day’s events are over. For this year’s TASHBash we brought in Portland area D.J. Lamar to create the atmosphere and lay down the tracks for members to cut loose.

If you want to book D.J. Lamar for one of your events, you can find him on the web here.

A photograph of DJ Lamar working his lighting and sound mixers during the #TASHbash. One of his lights in the foreground of the image is causing the picture to wash our purple. The blurred Christmas lights behind Lamar look like sparks coming out of his hand.

Poster Presentation and Reception

An event that has just become more lively, interactive and well-attended each year is the Poster Presentations. It’s such a great opportunity to circulate, discuss and find out what a wide representation of the community is working on in a casual evening environment.

A wide-angle photograph of the poster reception: a room full of people mingling in groups around posters tacked up on rows of easels.

One of the things that makes the Poster Presentations so great is that Stacy Dymond pulled together such a great team of TASH members to serve as judges for the poster awards, giving each presenter the opportunity to have a discussion with accomplished experts in their fields.

A photograph of Erik Carter pointing to a set of graphs on a poster while one of the poster authors and another discuss the study.

Membership Luncheon and Awards Ceremony

Similar to the Poster Presentations, one of the events that we have really turned into one of the highlights of the Conference is the Membership Appreciation Luncheon. It is one of the most enthusiastically attended events of the three days, as you can see here.

A photograph of the audience of the Membership Luncheon. A large banquet room of hundreds of people sitting at round tables.

It is also one of the occasions that we recognize the diverse fields of accomplishment of our members with TASH’s Awards Program. Here are some of the awardees from 2018.

A photograph of Ruthie Beckwith and Ruby Moore presenting the Larry J. Brumond Supportive Relationship Award to Paul Rule and Scott Newman.

A photograph of Ruby Moore and Ruthy Beckwith presenting an award to Marion Curry A photograph of A photograph of Nick Sampson receiving an award from Ruthie Beckwith and Ruby Moore
A photograph of Jim Conroy being presented an award by Ruthie Beckwith and Ruby Moore. A photograph of Lisa Yamasaki receiving an award from Ruthie Beckwith and Ruby Moore. A photograph of Ruthie Beckwith and Ruby Moore presenting an award to David Westling.
A photograph of Ralph Edwards receiving an award from Ruby Moore and Jenny Lengyel. A photograph of Ruby Moore and Ruthy Beckwith standing together with Kathy Burke as they present her with an award A photograph of Jennifer Kurth holding her award, flanked by Ruthy Beckwith and Ruby Moore.

The awardees, top to bottom, left to right are the following:

Paul Rule and Scott Newman — Larry J. Brumond Supportive Relationship Award
Marion Curry — Marc Gold Employment Award
Lingyu Li, Katie McCabe, Kim Wolowiec-Fisher, Jessica Bowman, Rebecca Kammes (not all pictured) — Poster Presentation Award
Tony Sampson — TASH Ambassador of the Year Award
Jim Conroy — Lifetime Achievement Award
Lisa Yamasaki — June Downing Breakthroughs in Inclusive Education Award
David Westling — Barbara R. Trader Leadership Award
Ralph Edwards — inaugural awardee of the Ralph Edwards Diversity Award
Kathryn Burke — Alice Hayden Emerging Leader Award
Jennifer Kurth — Early Career Researcher Award

Johnny Collett’s Closing Keynote

A photograph of Johnny Collett addressing the TASH conference. He is gesturing with both hands palm up, behind a podium, against a black curtain.

We closed out the Conference by hearing from Johnny Collett, the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). He talked about strategy and the future direction of policy in advance of inclusive education and transition for people with disabilities.

Thanks to Everyone Who Made it Possible!

We work all year to bring our Conference together, but the TASH staff is small: we couldn’t do it without the contributions of our Board of Directors, Local Host Committee, and when the week of the event arrives, a spectacular group of volunteers. Thank you to everyone who made it possible!

A photograph of the TASH Board of Directors and Staff posing in three lines in a hotel conference room.

A photograph of the Conference Volunteers orientation: a large group of people standing in a large circle, all referring to a packet of handouts.


This is our official reflection on the conference, but we’re not the only word. To see the experiences that attendees posted on social media check out the conference hashtag, #2018TASHconf on Facebook or twitter.

Next Year in Phoenix!

Missing the conference already? Well, it’s not too soon to start anticipating the 2019 Conference because we are already in the beginning stages of planning it!

In 2019 we will be at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass Resort Hotel outside of Phoenix, Arizona. As usual, we are constantly trying to improve and innovate with the Conference. In 2019 we seek to make the Conference more welcoming for families, so we will be shifting the dates from Wednesday through Friday to Thursday, Friday and Saturday. So it will be held on December 5th – 7th, 2019.

We will have our usual Conference announcements throughout the year — the Call for Proposals, the opening of early-bird registration and the room block, the opening of award nominations and so on — so be on the lookout for announcements. If you are not already on TASH’s mailing list, sign up right below the banner on our main page.

The 2019 TASH Conference logo: a simple, colorful illustration of a grove of cacti with a shiny sun in the corner.