Energetic Attendees and Heartfelt Celebrations at the 36th Annual Cal-TASH Conference

A photograph of 23 people in two rows

The 36th Annual Cal-TASH conference on February 22nd and 23rd was a huge success in sunny San Diego, California! Day One started off with a Town Hall on how the Department of Developmental Services Self-Determination program is working, featuring moderator Richard Rosenberg with panelists Aaron Carruthers, Ari Ne’eman, Judy Mark, Maria Marquez, and Elizabeth Harrell.

A photograph of five people sitting at a table on a dais. One panelist stands to the left of the table with a microphone.

Over 280+ attendees had the opportunity to participate in 54 breakout sessions focusing on communication, inclusive education, employment, advocacy, policy, and much more! Many of the breakout sessions were led by self advocates.

The Luncheon Keynotes rocked the crowd! The first day, Ari Ne’eman, Co-Founder of MySupport and President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, delivered a dynamic presentation on The Past, Present, and Future of Disability Advocacy: A Brief Overview of the Last Two Hundred Years. On Day Two, Adiba Nelson, Parent & Founder/President RocketChair Productions, reflected on The Beauty of Rebellion.

A photograph of Adiba Nelson addressing a large plenary session. A photograph of Ari Ne'eman addressing a large luncheon group.

The conference also included Speakeasy sessions (informal conversations/discussions/networking facilitated by a Cal-TASH Board member, designed to actively engage membership/attendees) on Inclusive Education, Community Living, Cultural Competence, Communication, Faith Community.

A photograph of a group of people sitting in a circle with a colorful PATH diagram on the wall. A photograph of a group of people leaning in and posing for a photograph.

Cal-TASH honored six award recipients throughout the conference. The award winners included:

  • June Downing Outstanding Educator Award – Raymond Guron
  • Bill Rosenberg Memorial Award – Jeff Strully
  • Mary Falvey Outstanding Young Person Award – ‘Dan the Man’ Rosien
  • Positive Images in the Media – Dan Habib for Intelligent Lives
  • Robert Gaylord-Ross Memorial Award – Don Cardinal
  • Diane J. Lipton Memorial Award – Janice Myck-Wayne

The Cal-TASH Bash was a huge success! Attendees enjoyed a live DJ, opportunity drawings, food, socializing, and of course some sweet dance moves!

Raquel Rosa, Assistant Director of TASH, and Ali DeYoung, Project Director of the YES! Center, attended this year’s conference. Raquel shared an update from National TASH and co-presented with Ali during a breakout session on Systems Change: What Does Competitive Integrated Employment Look Like on the Ground?

A photograph of Raquel Rosa at a large black podium on a stage. A painting of the Cal-TASH logo is leaning against the stage riser in the foreground. A photograph of the TASH membership table. Raquel Rosa and Ali DeYoung are standing behind it, both wearing blue TASH t-shirts.

A portrait of Linda Lee. She has red hair and blue eyes and is wearing a blue and yellow lei.This year’s conference was dedicated in honor of the life and legacy of Linda Lee, who passed away on June 22, 2018. She was on the Cal-TASH board from 1998-2010 and served as the treasurer and conference coordinator. Born with cerebral palsy, she lived TASH values as demonstrated by her fierce commitment to inclusion to all aspects of school and life. Her legacy will live on through having been one of San Francisco Unified School District’s first inclusion support teachers. She was the co-chair of the districts inclusion task force and was once described by one school principal as being “almost single-handedly responsible for the strong implementation of inclusive education in San Francisco.” Her passion for advocacy spread across the country leaving us all strengthened in our commitment to equity, opportunity, inclusion, and social justice for all!