8:00 AM – 1:00 PM Crown Foyer

Conference Registration

T-shirts and Raffle Tickets go on Sale!

Continental Breakfast


9:00 AM– 10:00 AM Ambassador Ballroom:

General Session National Updates

Billy Altom, ED APRIL and Scott Burlingame, APRIL Advocacy Chair, and Updates from National Partners 

Get the latest up-dates from national disability leaders on emergency preparedness, voter registration, housing and transportation issues, plus other topics of importance to rural Americans with disabilities.


10:00 AM – 10:30 AM Crown Foyer: Break/ visit vendor areas


10:30-12:00 PM Concurrent Workshops Block 3:


Vandenberg A:Reasonable Modification to Transportation Policy and Complaint Process

Kenneth Thompson

Presentation covers ADA reasonable modification to policy as it applies to public and private transportation. Examples and scenarios will be used to frame what providers should consider to make modification to policy decisions to ensure people with disabilities can get accessible rides. Additionally, the complaint process for transportation providers will cover information elements and tracking, and data.

Vandenberg B: Do You See What I Hear? Effective Communication through Audio Description

Rene Cummins and Rebecca Williams

Audio Description [AD] provides access to the visual elements – action, costumes, settings, gestures, facial expressions and other visually engaging images – of television/film, museum exhibitions, theater, graduations, art galleries, parades, inaugurations, tours, and any event where visual elements are an importation component of the activity. Audio Description enables individuals with vision loss the opportunity to experience events more completely by "seeing" what those with vision are viewing. Attendees will gain an understanding of the value of this form of effective communication from a user of description services. After a brief exploration of the history of ADS in the United States and its importance under the Americans with Disabilities Act attendees will learn the basics of Audio Description. The rest of the session is up to those sitting in the room. This session is highly interactive and will require attendees to test their skills of observation, editing, language and vocal skills. Folks will work in small groups to describe both static and active situations.

Pearl: Rural Healthcare 101

Merrill Friedman

This session will focus on health and wellbeing in rural America through leveraging community and faith based organizations to support people and engaging people wtih disabilities in the health care process and beyond.  Throughout, we will elevate the importance of addressing health drivers such as social determinants of health from a holistic approach. Bring your healthcare questions and more! 

Gerald Ford: Voices of Veterans on Health and Independent Living 

Jennifer Hale-Gallardo and Luz Semeah


In this two part workshop, attendees will hear from voices of rural Veterans on their experiences with seeking services and support for independent living.  Part one of the workshop by Hale-Gallardo will share voices from Veterans with disabilities on their experiences with unmet needs and how CILs have helped them improve their lives, and on what support they still need to achieve their goals of independent living.  Part two of the workshop by Semeah will discuss Veteran experiences with the lack of accessible housing in quality neighborhoods, as well as their challenges of reintegrating into society. These Veterans’ voices can provide insights to assist agencies in tailoring services to Veterans to support independent living.


Emerald A: Increasing Your Bottom Line Using Fee-for-Service

Sarah Hansen, Ian Engle, Linda Taylor, Dixie Herring, Joan LaBelle and Peter J. Pike

Vocational Rehabilitation has, in most states, a process in place that can increase revenue for CILs by assisting people with disabilities gain a successful career-- one of the top three requests CILs hear. We will demonstrate a proven success model that has brought in over $100,000 for one CIL in Colorado.

Emerald B: Keeping Balance: Bringing Youth into the Disability Movement

Mels Felton

The purpose of this presentation is to emphasize the need for youth involvement at all levels of the disability and CIL movements. Attendees will walk out of the session knowing approaches for bringing youth into the movement as well as retaining them. Youth voices are encouraged to attend.

12:00-1:30 Lunch on your own.


1:30pm-2:30pm Workshop Block 4

Vandenberg A: Kaizen Principles: Good Change for Your SILC

Kathy Cooper

Using the Kaizen principles to continuously improve on IL in your state. 10 basic principles of Kaizen and how to use them for your SILC, the SPIL or the IL Network. Attendees will learn a step by step process on how to create change and improvement and how to relate it to their SILC.

Vandenberg B: The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Freddy Perez 

The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation promotes the health, well-being, and independence of people living with paralysis, spinal cord injury, or mobility impairment as well as their caregivers and families by providing free comprehensive information, resources, peer support and referral services in order to achieve a better quality of life. This presentation will dive into our different programs and services, as well as how we can be an ally at whatever point in your journey around physical disability.

Pearl: Hey You Digital Assistants in Assistive Technology

Danny Housley

Come explore how digital assistants like Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa can be used to increase independence. This session will cover some of the pros and cons for each device and the topic of security and privacy will be covered. This session will also explore smart home technologies and their interoperability with smart assistants.

Gerald Ford: Oh no! It’s a Coffee Emergency!

Laura George

Where is my favorite creamer? Can’t find the cup! Who is my EMA Director? Who can help my consumer get electrical power? Every day we gather our ingredients, make and enjoy our coffee with little thought, then rely on it to get our day going. Now imagine taking those same steps that are involved pre/during/and post-coffee making and apply that to Inclusive Emergency Design. Learn how to connect with local community partners in such a way that benefits them, your center and the community you serve. Learn about new organizations and projects that are working on addressing some of the challenges that still remain unresolved. Then at the next disaster instead of bitter-tasting problems, because you know who your community players are, that cup of coffee will taste more satisfying.


Emerald A: Using Rural IL Power to Address the Needs of People with Disabilities Living in Poverty

Rayna Sage, Lillie Greiman and Craig Ravesloot

Poverty limits consumer choice and control and is increasing among rural people with disabilities. This interactive session will explore 1) how poverty affects IL and 2) how community development strategies can address poverty in rural communities. Participants will explore how poverty affects IL, rural resources that CILs can leverage to help address poverty and community development strategies CILs may use to mobilize rural communities to address poverty among people with disabilities living
in their community.

Emerald B: Shades of Disability in the Media

Mark Leeper

How the media portrays people with disabilities has changed a lot over the years. Learn how advocacy can make the difference in creating change, and see what changes still need to happen, and what you can do about them.


2:30pm-3:00pm Transition to next workshop block


3:00pm-4:00pm Concurrent Workshops Block 5:

Vandenberg A: Living IL is not One Size Fits All

Kelsey Shinnick Goddard and Lillie Greiman

What does independent living mean to you? How can and do you find the supports you need to live the life you want in the community? Independent Living isn't "one size fits all"! Through interactive activities and discussion this workshop will explore the diversity of perspectives on IL. We will share what we have heard from young adults living in the community and want to open the floor up to you to share your perspective. Help us fine-tune a checklist to assist young adults in the transition to living independently.

Vandenberg B: Disability History: The Story of Us

Anaya Robinson and Rosemary McDonnell-Horita 

Atlantis Community Inc. has been the center of disability history and activism since it's creation over 44 years ago. Today, we reflect on the traditionally untold stories of disability history that affect the movement going forward. This conversation will bring an inter-sectional lens to the disability history that we have inherited from our elders.

Pearl: Are Rural Veterans Perceived As "Far Out" because of Geography?

Danita Applewhite

This presentation offers insight for the IL community when welcoming and working with veterans who have disabilities, who live in rural areas. Participants will engage group activities to reflect upon perceptions and realities that are often associated with “disabled veterans,” relative to geographic location, and unaddressed mental and physical disabilities. Focus placed on exploring creative and successful partnership opportunities with businesses, community agencies, faith-based organizations, and the Veterans Administration. Dr. Applewhite shares stories from fellow veterans who have used the euphemism “far out” to describe both their psycho-social and geographic access to resources. She will share her professional and personal experience as a person with a disability, who also served her country, and consults for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Gerald Ford: An Intersection not an Interstate: Breaking the Binary in Disability Studies

Dylan Ashley and Mels Felton

On an interstate, smaller pathways merge endlessly into the larger. An intersection consists of differing yet equivalent paths meeting at a crossroads. When we, as a community, expect everyone to conform to one standard, we counteract our own movement. In this session, we will draw comparisons between the disability rights and other justice movements to expand our concept of community.

Emerald A: Disability is Sexy 

Kevin Corrigan and Elle Livengood

At The Independence Center, we are disabled people building a community where people with all disabilities can thrive. We are excited to offer this fun awareness presentation to people who interact with persons with disabilities. Our goal is to prepare participants to engage in open conversations with disabled people in their communities about sex. Disabled people are sexual beings, worthy of love and pleasure. We will debunk societal misconceptions that can prevent us from seeing disabled people as whole, sexual beings while highlighting the real and diverse ways that people with disabilities engage in their sexuality. The workshop explores the following Disability and Sex topics: Accessibility and Sex: How people incorporate their disabilities into their sex lives, People with IDD (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) and their sexualities, Sexual attraction and people with sensory disabilities, Sexual relationships between disabled people and their caregivers, The impact of trauma or mental health challenges on people’s experiences with sex, and Changes in sex after Traumatic Brian Injuries. Paricipants will leave with an expanded awareness of disabled people and how they can experience sex, new ways to talk about sex with people with diverse disabilities, and strategies for including disabled people in sex education programs. 


Emerald B: Advocacy after APRIL Conference: How to Get Youth Involved in Advocacy in Your Community

Deja Barber

Are you a youth that wants to know how to be a better advocate once you get back to your community? Do you want to help youth in your area learn how to develop there advocacy skills ? This is the session for you! In this session you will learn the step by step process on how to make great youth advocates. Also you will learn about resources that can be given to the youth that will help in there journey. It will be a session on how to make advocacy fun and interactive!


3:45-4:00 Transition to Peer Networking Rooms


4:15pm-5:00pm Peer Support Time

This year we wanted to hold a dedicated space for those who want to meet others working in the field in their line of work. Come ask questions of your peers, exchange business cards, and get to know one another a little more. With Community, We are stronger!

Vandenberg A: CIL ED’s, AD’s and Program Managers

Vandenberg B: SILCs

Pearl: Advocacy Directors/Coordinators

Gerald Ford: IL Specialists (Direct Service)

Emerald A: Youth Consumers

Emerald B: Youth Transition Coordinators


6:30 PM – 9:00 PM Ambassador Ballroom

Cash Bar, Plated Dinner Awards Banquet & Raffle

Entertainment, plated dinner, and cash bar. Help us honor our colleauges with our Linda Gonzales Award and Earl Walden Award. Listen as our youth get the final word on their experience and APRIL. Celebrate and laugh with old friends and new as we build our spirits for the work ahead.
(Name badges required)



Return to 2019 Conference