Well, St. Louis, you treated us well!
Earlier this month, we hosted our 41st annual conference at the beautiful Union Station Hotel. We had nearly 800 attendees, 300 speakers, and two concerts. Every hour on the hour, we were treated to a light show in the hotel’s iconic lobby. Attendees joined us from 48 states and 14 countries, including Turkey, Australia, and Thailand.
To kick off the conference, our new Executive Director, Ruthie-Marie Beckwith welcomed the crowd at the Opening Reception. She introduced some of TASH’s 2017 initiatives, such as our communication access campaign, the TASH ambassador program, and our work on the YES Center, a technical assistance center focused on transition-aged youth, which TASH was recently awarded through a federal grant. Wow, 2017 is going to be a busy year! Ruthie concluded her remarks with awarding our exiting board members and our 2016 TASH Award Program winners with their plaques. The evening continued with hors d’oeuvres and a performance by United by Music North America.
We did something a little different for our general sessions this year. Each session featured a panel of experts from different backgrounds and with different outlooks on life. We had parents, policy makers, researchers, service providers, parent trainers, TASH staff, and self-advocate Chris Worth, who had the crowd rising to their feet in awe.
This year we added Recreation & Leisure to our session topics. This topic just so happened to draw a crowd to the most popular breakout session, Love and Disability: Removing the Barriers, presented by Stephen Hinkle. Other popular sessions included our Wednesday Workshop Faith and Inclusion: Embracing Inclusion for People with Disabilities in School and Community, presented by Mona Fuerstenau and Anthony Armitage. You can listen to a preview of the workshop here. And our symposium, Inclusion Means Diversity & Cultural Competency, moderated by Natalie Holdren, also drew a crowd. You can listen to Natalie’s preview of the symposium here.
Our poster presentations went off with a bang this year! We awarded the following recipients with our 2016 Best Poster Presentation Award:
- Living with a (Dis)Abilities in Post-Socialist Ukraine: A Fight for Equity by Inna Stepaniuk
- Fair Housing Rights and Enforcement by Vard McGuire
- A Couples Therapy Framework for Adult Couples with an Intellectual Disability by Rebecca R. Kammes & Megan Lachmar
- Video Hero Modeling (VHM) on Improving Self-Care Skills of Elementary-Aged Students with Developmental Disabilities by Yoshihisa Ohtake
If you missed this year’s conference in St. Louis, you can catch up by searching the conference hashtag #2016TASHconf on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also view the photo album on Facebook here.
Finally, we’d like to thank all of our attendees, exhibitors, sponsors, volunteers, board and committee members, and staff for making the 2016 TASH Conference one of the best yet. We hope to see you all next year in Atlanta, GA, December 13 – 15th!
Thank you to our 2016 Conference Sponsors:
- Ability Magazine
- Ability Jobs
- Public Consulting Group
- MassMutual Financial Group – SpecialCare
- Bethesda Lutheran Communities
- Kansas State Department of Education
- LEAD Center
- National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth
- One Classroom
- Research and Training Center on Community Living/University of Minnesota
- Vocational Rehabilitation Youth Technical Assistance Center
- Youth Transitions National Support Fund