|SLU graduate student exhibit coordinators and exhibit director at ACPA in Baltimore. From left: A.J. Freidhoff, Stacy DuVall, Karen Myers (director), Anne Marie Carrol (project manager) and Kelly Willerding. Submitted photo|
Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit made its national debut at the ACPA College Student Educators International convention in Baltimore March 27-29.
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit was invited by ACPA to present for three days in the exhibit hall during the annual meeting with more than 4,000 attendees from approximately 1,500 public and private colleges and universities in the United States and around the world.
The purpose of The Ability Exhibit is to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities through respect for others, comfort during interactions, and awareness of disability issues.
Using a multi-media approach to demonstrate respect, comfort and awareness, the exhibit offers suggestions for becoming disability allies and educators. The Ability Exhibit was created by SLU graduate students in the disability in higher education and Society course under the direction of their instructor, Karen Myers, Ph.D.
"What began as a student's project and PowerPoint presentation in my class less than a year ago developed into a sophisticated interactive multimedia product," said Myers. "I was so inspired by graduate student Anne Marie Carroll's initiative that I formed a team of students to take her idea to the next level."
The Ability Exhibit is co-sponsored by the Saint Louis University (SLU) Educational Leadership and Higher Education Department and the SLU Division of Student Development with generous donations from the SLU Division of Information Technology Services and Logan College of Chiropractic in Chesterfield, Mo.
Following its national debut in Baltimore, plans are underway to display the exhibit throughout the United States and abroad beginning with Southern Illinois University at Carbondale April 26.
It has been 20 years since the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and almost forty years since the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Both of these laws protect against discrimination of people with disabilities by requiring equal access to employment, education, goods and services. Americans have progressed in their attitudes and behaviors toward people with disabilities; however, there remain questions and concerns about appropriate communication, comfort level, and inclusive practices.
When it comes to interacting with individuals with disabilities, people ask, "What should I do?" "How should I respond?" "Is it okay to say that?" "How can I become an ally?"
Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit will attempt to answer some of these questions.