The following is a guest post from Arizona TASH president Cheryl Brown.
Arizona TASH just closed out another two-day conference.
The first day of the conference offered a strand for middle and high schoolers! Kristin Dougherty did an amazing job facilitating an I AM NORM strand for the 20 youth. Linda Mullen wrapped it up with a breakout on The Sparkle Effect. Many of the youth commented about how inspired they were, and that this experience had completely changed how they view people with disabilities.
One of the highlights was young 14- year old Harrison’s keynote titled, “Dear Teacher” where he touchingly explained what he wants teachers to know about him, a student with autism. Harrison’s self-advocacy journey has brought him to the Arizona TASH annual conference twice, and this time, he felt ready and a desire to present. He even made a connection with someone who is offering to help him fulfill his long-time dream to go to New York City!
Michael Wehmeyer shared about his book, “Good Blood, Bad Blood” and autographed copies. He spoke of a terrible and not short lived episode in our history. When one class of people get to determine the worth and the very humanity of persons in another group, injustice may not just happen – injustice already is. The danger of this, the deepest type of discrimination lies so near the surface of any society that constant warning is needed.
A pause and areak from all the excitement, a special moment shared between two good friends, Laura Nagle and Nancy Licht.
Ani King, a University of Arizona student in Project FOCUS “wowed” the audience with her presentation about her student life using her iPad.
An admirer from the audience lets Ani know what a wonderful presentation she gave.
Laura Nagel contributed her review of Facing the Future: Who’s in Your Network? A presentation on creating networks to prepare students for the future.
John Muir, from the Scottsdale School District spoke of his “Team 7” with passion and knowledge. As a person with a developmental disability, and a terrible past, I found his ability to create a new system form whole cloth and make it produce real world results to be one of the most hopeful presentations that I have ever heard. People’s lives are being bettered right now. I was impressed to the state of raw emotion considering that young ones like me may have better lives. (Laura Nagel review)