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Speakers / Leaders
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Last updated on 09/04/2007
  • Bartlette, Don
    • A full-time public speaker who travels extensively throughout the United States and Canada sharing several presentations related to his life story. He shares his experiences as an Indian child growing up with severe speech and physical disabilities in an environment of poverty, child abuse, family violence, racism and alcoholism.

  •  Bersani, Hank
    • Associate Professor and Chair of the Division of Special Education at Western Oregon University and Research Assistant Professor at Oregon Health Sciences University. He has consulted to organizations and governments nationally and internationally. His current focus is on the role of assistive technology and self-determination in changing the nature of services to people with severe disabilities, and research on health risks to people with developmental disabilities of substance abuse and cancer.

  • Brown, Lou
    • Provides lectures, conducts training workshops and makes presentations at schools, universities, professional and parent conferences, government agencies, etc. Topics include: Serving Students with Disabilities in Regular Education Settings in Home Schools, and Preparing Individuals with Disabilities to Perform Meaningful Work in Integrated Environments; and other individualized topics. He has a Ph.D. degree in Special Education from Florida State University and is a professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education at the University of Wisconsin since 1969.

  • Cardella. Michael (self advocate) and Barbara Cardella (parent)
    • Listening to parents and self-advocates is critical in providing appropriate services. This mother-son team will inspire you as they share their experiences on the road to community inclusion and the realization of Michael’s goals to have a real life, a real job, and real friends. Barbara will focus on the results, research outcomes and help others achieve inclusive education and transition through advocacy. (518) 695-4568 New York State Self Advocacy Association, 102 Windy Hill Road, Greenwich, NY 12834. Michael gives presentations on disability awareness and the outcomes of inclusion for the New York State Self Advocacy Association. He is a member of AmeriCorps*VISTA and a 1998 graduate of Schuylerville High School receiving an IEP diploma. His spontaneous, charming way will demonstrate “getting real.” Michael is a provocative speaker, doing keynote presentations and workshops to national and local audiences. He is helping to change public misconceptions about people with disabilities. Michael is a participant in Project Leadership, a national training program that brings key self-advocates and parent/family leaders to Washington, DC, as well as New York State Partners in PolicyMaking. He is employed by Home Depot. His positive self-image and sense of humor will convince you that inclusion is the best option; it is the key to getting a real life.

  • Condeluci, Al
    • Al Condeluci is one of America's leading consultants on human services and community issues. He speaks to national and international audiences reaching over 10,000 people each year. UCP of Pittsburgh’s current executive director, he has 28 years of service at UCP of Pittsburgh and is internationally recognized as a leader in human services. He is called upon often to be a keynote speaker, trainer, and leader of board retreats. His three books, Interdependence (1991), Beyond Differences (1995), and Cultural Shifting (2001) are being used in more than 100 colleges and universities in the US and Canada

  •  Downing, June
    • June Downing is a Professor at California State University, Northridge. For the past 20 years she has been a teacher-trainer in the areas of Moderate/Severe Disabilities, Severe/Multiple Impairments, and Visual Impairments at universities in Kansas, Arizona and California. Her research and writing is concentrated on students with severe and multiple disabilities in inclusive settings. Ms. Downing is a lifetime member of TASH and an executive board member. She has written several texts on inclusive education practices, which provide very practical strategies for teachers to implement

  • Falvey, Mary
    • A national authority on inclusive education for students with and without disabilities. She is a professor in special education at California State University, Los Angeles and has authored three books within her field of expertise, including  "Inclusive & Heterogeneous Education: Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction."  She is currently writing a new book on Celebrating Abilities in Disabilities.  In addition, she has co-authored over 17 book chapters and numerous journal articles, and has made over 250 presentations at local, state, national, and international conferences. She serves as a consultant on inclusive education for several school districts and state departments of education.  Dr. Falvey  is also a former Director of TASH, an international association of persons fighting for a society in which inclusion of all people in all aspects of society is the norm.

  • Fink, Dale Borman
    • Dale Borman Fink is a widely recognized author, workshop leader, and keynote speaker among audiences interested in the inclusion of children and youth with disabilities in Head Start, child care, after school care, and recreation.  Among his publications have been School-Age Children With Special Needs: What Do They Do When School Is Out? (1988, Boston: The Exceptional Parent Press). Discipline in School Age Care: Control the Climate, Not the Children, (1995, School Age Notes), and Making a Place for Kids with Disabilities, (2000, Praeger Publishers, Westport, CT).  A sibling of an adult with Down Syndrome, he combines the perspectives of family member, practitioner, and researcher. He received a Bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1972, then spent 12 years on the front lines of child care as a teacher and administrator, followed by eight years as a Research Associate at the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women. He earned a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1997.  Currently he works as an independent consultant and trainer and also holds a faculty appointment at the University of Connecticut Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities in Farmington, Connecticut. 

  • Forts, Ann (self advocate)
    • Self-advocate The primary focus of Ann's speeches is to help people understand there definitely is an "UP" side to life with Down Syndrome. She speaks from first hand knowledge because she too has Down Syndrome, which she prefers to call "UP" Syndrome. She created the concept of "UP" Syndrome to redefine, in a positive way, the image of mental disABILITIES & to focus on the ABILITY portion of the word, disability. Ann has served 7 years as a member of the President's Advisory Committee in Washington DC called The President's Committee on Mental Retardation. She has been a guest on "The Today Show" and "The Geraldo Rivera Show." Ann has received numerous regional & national awards for sharing her "UP" Syndrome philosophy with her peers, their families, students, teachers, doctors and social workers. She received the 1st International Self Empowerment Award by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation at the United Nations in NYC.

  • Giangreco, Michael
    • A research professor at the University of Vermont. Professional interests are  on how to plan, adapt, coordinate, implement, and evaluate educational programs and services for students with disabilities who are included in general education classrooms. Editor for Quick Guides to Inclusion 1, 2 & 3, and Co author of COACH and numerous other publications.

  •  Gilhool, Thomas
    • Thomas Gilhool is a retired Staff Attorney from the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP). He previously served as Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He has been the lead attorney in precedent-setting lawsuits on behalf of people with disabilities, including the groundbreaking right-to-education PARC case.  125 S. 9th St., Ste. 700, Philadelphia, PA 19107 (215)-627-7100

  • Glozier, Kyle (email only) (self advocate)
    • A long-time member of ADAPT (American Disabled for Attendant Programs Today). Kyle lives in Pennsylvania and is a nationally renowned advocate-leader and speaker. Kyle spoke at the 2000 Democratic National Convention on ADAPT's behalf. Through use of a communication board, Kyle has a powerful message to convey about how and why we all not only can, but must be better advocates and leaders.

  • Kluth, Paula
    • Author of "You're Going to Love This Kid! Teaching Students With Autism in the Inclusive Classroom" Dr. Kluth is an independent educational consultant. Her professional and research interests center on differentiating instruction and on supporting students with autism and significant disabilities in inclusive classrooms. She is a former Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Leadership at Syracuse University and a former special educator who has served as a classroom teacher, consulting teacher, and inclusion facilitator.

  • Kunc, Norman
    • Norman Kunc and Emma Van der Klift have spent over 20 years working to ensure that people with disabilities are able to take their rightful place in schools, workplaces, and communities. They established Axis Consultation and Training Ltd. in 1990, and provide in-service and training in the areas of inclusive education, employment equity, conflict resolution, and other disability rights issues. They travel extensively throughout North America, and the world, working with school districts, human service agencies, employers and advocacy groups. Norman Kunc (pr. Koontz) is a well known disability rights advocate, he prefers to think of himself as a storyteller, continuing the long held tradition of using humour and narrative to initiate self-reflection and social change. Born with cerebral palsy, Norman attended a segregated school for children with physical disabilities; then, at the age 13, he was integrated into a regular school. From there, he went on to complete a Bachelor's degree in Humanities and a Master of Science degree in Family Therapy. Norman's initial advocacy focused on the educational rights of students with disabilities, more recently he has directed his attention to how schools and communities can utilize the diversity of people to build a sense of belonging, and avoid a climate of allegiance which results from stratification, competition, and group identification.

  • Law, Alvin
    • Alvin is a speaker like no other. You will recognize him as soon as he takes off his shoes to eat or read. Born without arms, Alvin has always lived by the motto "There's no such word as can't!" Alvin's story is about the incredible power of humanity and the difference one person can truly make in a world searching for answers to why we're here.

  • Martin, Reed
    • An attorney with 28 years experience in special education law. Reed has litigated under Section 504 and the ADA as well as the IDEA. He has also successfully pursued Section 504 complaints through the Office for Civil Rights in several regions. He is an informational resource for parents and school personnel who advocate for children with learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, autism, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, behavior/emotional disorders, and more

  • McGill Smith, Patty (email only)
    • Patricia McGill Smith has been one of the nation's foremost leaders of the parent movement over the past three decades. She founded Pilot Parents in Nebraska in the early 1970s and was the founder of the National Parent Network on Disability. She previously served as Acting Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

  • Mihail, Tom
    • A professor and Chair of Special Education and Graduate Elementary Education at Purdue University. An outspoken advocate for people with special needs, their families, and service providers. He has made over 200 local, state, national and international presentations, produced over 70 educational videos, authored over  20 publications, and is a consultant to schools, agencies and parent groups in three states. In addition to eight human service resource internet sites, he designed and maintains the Purdue Calumet Educational Diversities Committee's Web site.
  • Moyer, Jeff
    • Jeff has provided keynote addresses, training seminars, and motivational workshops in 44 states and numerous national and international conferences. Jeff combines powerful style and content, original music and humor, and deep subject knowledge in a variety of areas pertinent to: education, diversity and disability, the dignity of all human beings, and other topics ranging from building inclusive schools and communities to the ADA, 504, and IDEA. He currently serves as adjunct faculty for Kent State University and has taught and guest lectured in numerous universities and colleges since 1975

  • O'Brien, John
    • A a teacher, author and graphic facilitator. John was co-creator of PATH and MAPS with Jack Pearpoint and Marsha Forrest, co-creator of Personal Futures Planning with Beth Mount and co-creator of Framework for Accomplishment with Connie Lyle O’Brien. He learns about building more just and inclusive communities from people with disabilities, their families, and their allies. He uses what he learns to advise people with disabilities and their families, advocacy groups, service providers, and governments and to spread the news among people interested in change by writing and through workshops. He works in partnership with Connie Lyle O’Brien and a group of friends from 12 countries. He is affiliated with the Center on Human Policy at Syracuse University (US), The National Development Team for Services to People with Learning Difficulties (UK), and the Marsha Forest Centre for Inclusion, Family, and Community (Canada). Many of the chapters and articles he has written can be read and downloaded at

  • Pearpoint, Jack
    • Jack is co-creator of planning tools, MAPS and PATH. He’s a talented graphic facilitator. Jack leads and creates workshops and seminars that help people and organizations move fully into the 21st century. He writes, publishes and distributes jargon free books, newspapers, videos, CD’s and posters on the topic of inclusion, diversity, teamwork and change. Jack is the founding Director of Inclusion Press and the Marsha Forest Centre: Inclusion.

  • Pitonyak, David
    • David is a consultant from Blacksburg, VA. He works with individuals who are said to exhibit “difficult behaviors”. and believes that most of these individuals exhibit these behaviors because they are misunderstood and/or because they are living lives that don’t make sense. The behaviors are “messages” which can tell us important things about their lives. He provides workshops and seminars on a variety of topics including supporting people with difficult behaviors and supporting the needs of a person’s friends, family and caregivers. He works in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, England and Northern Ireland.

  • Scott, Patti
    • Co-Founder of Neighbours Inc, CEO since 1995. She leads a growing management team in implementing the organization's vision. In 2001 Neighbours Inc. received national and international recognition for its innovative work for Full Community Inclusion from AAMR. Patti is known for her work as an advocate of inclusion, a facilitator of community living, and as someone who has developed respectful and positive ways in which to help support people with challenging behavior. She is an established speaker and workshop presenter, statewide, nationally and internationally. Patti has delivered staff training and consultations for people who provide support to people with developmental disabilities throughout the USA, India, England, and Malta. In addition to her demanding role as CEO, Patti is Co-Chair of International TASH's Community Living Committee, and sits on the board of the New Jersey Provider Association http://www/

  • Snow, Kathie (parent)
    • Kathie is probably best known for her "Disability is Natural and Other Revolutionary Common Sense" workshop, which includes her well-known "People First Language" presentation. She also presents on inclusive education, inclusive communities, and a variety of other new ways of thinking that challenge conventional wisdom and promote positive new ways of thinking. She works closely with conference and meeting planners to create exciting, lively, skill-building presentations which result in positive, long-lasting outcomes. Participants in workshops consistently evaluate her presentations highly. With common sense, humor, and a rebellious spirit, she enlightens and entertains participants in workshops and trainings across the United States and Canada. She challenges the old ways of thinking, and helps parents, people with disabilities, and professionals acquire new perceptions and attitudes- the first rung in the ladder of change.

  • Smull, Michael
    • An internationally recognized speaker who pioneered the person-centered planning process known as Essential Lifestyle Planning. Through his work, Michael helps us to better understand how important it is to learn what counts as a successful lifestyle for an individual. He operates off of three basic assumptions: 1) we all have our individual lifestyle that works for us; 2) our life goes well or badly in accordance with how well we achieve that lifestyle; and 3) our primary obligation to others is to change how we affect and support their ability to live according to their lifestyle - not to change them.

  •  Stahl, Skip
    • Co-director of the Universal Learning Center, Peabody, MA. Mr. Stahl uses his background in special education and school psychology, including neuropsychological assessment, to develop and implement professional training. In addition to his awareness of assistive and curriculum adaptation technologies for both Macintosh and Windows '95 platforms, he has extensive experience working with students with learning, behavioral, and physical disabilities. Mr. Stahl divides his time between guiding systemic change initiatives in a number of states across the country, and leading project design teams at Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). Mr. Stahl received a bachelor's degree in English literature from Bard College and a master's degree in special education from Bank Street College of Education.

  • Tashie, Carol (email only)
    • An activist and teacher around issues related to peace, justice, and inclusion for all. Trained as both a regular and a special educator, Carol was one of the first Inclusion Facilitators in New Hampshire and was responsible for returning all of her district's students to their general education classses in their neighborhood schools. Worked for 13 years at the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability on inclusive education, preschool through college; facilitation of friendships; systems change; and youth and family leadership. Co-author of From Special to Regular From Ordinary to Extraordinary (1996); Petroglyphs: The Writing on the Wall (1997) and the Voices of Friendship video.

  • Thousand, Jacqueline
    • A Professor at the College of Education, California State University San Marcos, California. A teacher educator since 1981 with experience in training teachers and providing technical assistance to schools to create inclusive educational experiences for children from preschool through high school. At the University of Vermont, she coordinated an early childhood special education teacher preparation program and an "Inclusion Facilitator" graduate programs (1986-1996). She was a pioneer in developing instruction and curriculum modification strategies for including students with moderate and severe disabilities that came to be the "staples" of inclusive practice in the 1990s. She currently coordinates a teacher credential program that endorses graduates as general and special educators and directs master's programs. Working with leadership and staff of local schools she helps to restructure "special day class" programs and move teachers and students into the mainstream. and works closely with families to make inclusive education communities a reality. She is on the editorial boards of professional journals, was a co-editor of Teacher Education and Special Education, has authored numerous books, research articles, and book chapters on practical how-to strategies for meeting the needs of all students in general education; adapting curriculum, instruction, and assessment; collaborative teaming; and creative problem solving.

  • Villa, Rich
    • President of Bayridge Consortium, Inc., in San Diego, CA. His primary field of expertise is the development of administrative and instructional support systems for educating students within general education settings. He is recognized as an educational leader with the commitment and the conceptual, technical, and interpersonal skills to inspire and work collaboratively with others to implement current and emerging exemplary educational practices. This has resulted in the inclusion of children with intensive cognitive, physical, and emotional challenges as full members of the general education community in the school districts where he has worked and consulted. He has been a classroom teacher, special education administrator, pupil personnel services director, and director of instructional services. He has presented at international, national, and state educational conferences and has provided technical assistance to the United States, Canadian, Vietnamese, and Honduran Departments of education, and to University personnel, public school systems, and parent and advocacy organizations. He has authored 4 books and over 70 articles and book chapters. Rich is known for his enthusiastic, humorous style of presenting.

  • Wilkins, Daniel D. (self advocate)
    • An outspoken advocate, story teller and visionary for people living with disabilities and the culture to which they belong. Since 1989, he has been sharing stories and ideas in workshops, breakouts, keynotes, chautauquas and roundtables, formal and informal, for students from pre-school (tough crowd) to doctorate, parents, professionals in business, human service and allied health, educators and administrators, and folks with disabilities on a broad range of topics from disability and diversity awareness, advocacy and self-advocacy, to the importance of humor, inclusion, community and seeing through bigger eyes. Dan currently sits on several boards and advisory committees including being on the Board of Directors for The Ability Center, a Center for Independent Living serving northwest Ohio and the Greater Toledo area. He also operates The Nth Degree, a progressive, forward-thinking graphic design company geared toward issues related to the independent living movement, inclusion, diversity, and disability rights movements

  • Wolfe, Ashley  (self advocate)
    • A self-adovocate, Ashley attended Lesley College in Cambridge, Mass. She speaks about her college experiences making new relationships, independence and decision making. She likes to do public speaking because she wants to help break stereotypes for people who have special abilities and young people who are living with Down syndrome. She has also started to work as an actress and a model, hoping to break stereotypes in the media and society



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