Sunday, July 04, 1999

Events focus on women with disabilities

Enquirer contributor

        There has been an increased focus in several arenas on women's issues in the '90s, and now two August events will recognize the special issues of women with disabilities.

        If you are a woman with a disability, a family member, caregiver, advocate, or professional working in the field of disability, you'll want to check out one or both of these national conferences in San Antonio, Texas, later this summer.

        • “Promoting the Health and Wellness of Women with Disabilities,” Aug. 2-5, will be sponsored by a variety of organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control's Office of Women's Health, the World Institute on Disability, and the Ohio Women with Disabilities Network. At the Marriott River Center in San Antonio, the four-day event will have a specific theme each day.

        Daily topics: “Sexuality and Reproductive Health,” “Health Promotion and the Prevention of Secondary Conditions,” “Violence and Mental Health” and “Health and Employment.” Each theme will be broken into focus areas, such as pregnancy, parenting, menopause, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, aging with disabili ty and managed care.

        A special health promotion night will expose women to wheelchair basketball, dance, fitness for women with disabilities and adaptive sports. A “cyber cafe” will demonstrate Internet resources in the areas of women's health and wellness.

        Women with disabilities will find communications accommodations — such as sign-language interpreters, limited captioning and selected materials in Braille, large print and audio formats — to make the conference more accessible. .

        Registration fee is $175, and special hotel rates are $91 (single) and $129 (double) a night.

        For a registration form and additional information, contact Kathy Martinez at the World Institute on Disability, (510) 251-4326; fax (510) 763-4109; TTY (510) 208-9493; or send e-mail to You can visit the conference program at

        • The health and wellness conference will be followed by a two-day conference, also sponsored by the World Institute on Disability. “Strategies to Increase Employment of Women with Disabilities” will be Aug. 6 and 7, also at the Marriott River Center.

        The conference is a collaborative effort of several federal agencies and departments, including the Social Security Administration, Department of Education, President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and National Council on Disability.

        Speakers will include women with disabilities in a variety of professions and women who have begun their own businesses. In additional to the anticipated fare of career planning, using mentors and job-seeking strategies, many sessions will focus on employment issues for women with a particular disability. These topics will include using the Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS) program to transition from benefits to work, introduction to small business planning, knowing your rights in the employment process, peer support approaches to employment, the employer's viewpoint and resources and services available from government agencies.

        Other highlights: demonstrations of assistive technology and consultations with Internet experts, employment specialists and mentors with disabilities.

        Conference registration is $150 before July 31, with the same hotel rates as for the preceding event.

        For registration and information for either event, contact Kathy Martinez at the World Institute on Disability, (510) 251-4326; fax (510) 763-4109; TTY (510) 208-9493; or e-mail to You can visit the conference program at

                Deborah Kendrick's column appears Sundays. E-mail to