Whether you're a person with a disability, a caregiver, advocate or professional, there's nothing like the occasional energy and information gleaned from a single-focus conference.
Conferences specializing in every disability from hearing loss to autism, spinal cord injury to dyslexia, and areas such as technology, legal rights, employment and more are held year-round in a variety of venues.
Here are a few events scheduled for this year that are particularly interesting:
Living and Working in the Community
March 3-5, Baltimore
Sponsored by the the National Academy for State Health Policy, this conference could be called Medicare and Medicaid, Basic and Advanced.
Intended for anyone needing to understand and work with the sometimes complex regulations governing these two programs, conference sessions will address the Ticket to Work; strategies for accessing and expanding affordable, accessible and integrated housing; children's issues; mental health; nursing facility transition; Medicaid 101 and 102; and much more.
Registration is free, and can be completed online at www.nashp.org/cmsconference2003/confreg.cfm .
Medically Fragile Children
March 31-April 2, Philadelphia
The fifth annual conference on "Children Who Are Medically Fragile or Technology Dependent" brings together an impressive sampling of national experts addressing every aspect of caring for medically fragile children.
Topics addressed include legal issues, adolescent sexuality, passage to adulthood, organizing trips, and issues of race, class and culture.
Registration before March 10 is $145 per day or $375 for entire conference. Information: Ken-Crest Services, (610) 825-9360, Ext. 301, or visit the conference Web site at www.kencrest.org/medfrag/conf.html.
Special Education Law
March 7-8, Dayton
For parents of children with disabilities, laws regarding education can be a rough sea of rules and regulations. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act all have something to say about protecting the rights of children with disabilities, and providing them with an education equal to peers in an appropriate setting.
With key presenter, Reed Martin, a lawyer who has concentrated on special education rights for more than 30 years, this conference will help parents and educators make more sense of the facts needed to serve their children.
For information, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 19-22, Los Angeles (pre-conference begins March 17)
The 17th annual International Conference called "Technology and Persons with Disabilities" is perhaps the most comprehensive gathering of products and information in the assistive technology field.
It will feature more than 250 sessions and 145 product exhibits, offering products of interest for every disability type.
Persons with disabilities, educators, family members and software developers gather at this international event.
Hot new products are unveiled here, and workshops appealing to beginners and advanced computer users crowd the four-day schedule.
This year's keynote speaker will be Ray Kurzweil - an author, inventor and futurist who has been compared to Thomas Edison and dubbed "the restless genius" by the Wall Street Journal.
Among other achievements, Mr. Kurzweil invented the first print-to-speech reading machine for the blind, the first CCD flat-bed scanner, the first text-to-speech synthesizer, the first music synthesizer capable of re-creating the grand piano and other orchestral instruments, and more.
The conference fills two Los Angeles airport hotels and spills into several others in the area. Registration before Feb. 21 is $379 for all four days and $429 thereafter.
For complete schedules, exhibitor list, registration information, visit www.csun.edu/cod and click on the conference link.
Contact Deborah Kendrick by phone: 673-4474; fax: 321-6430; e-mail: email@example.com.
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