10th Annual Northeastern U.S. Conference on disABILITY

disAbility Conference Save the Date

October 5, 2011


  • Electronic Registration
    • Individuals wishing to pay via Mastercard or Visa may use our secure electronic registration system.

      Rates for this year's conference are as follows:

      Professional: $99
      Student/Individual with disability/Family: $40

      Electronic registration will close September 27, 2011.

      Any requests for refunds must be received by September 30, 2011.

  • Paper Registration
    • Individuals wishing to pay via check or money order may register by completing the paper registration form below and mailing it to the address listed on the form.

      Rates for this year's conference are as follows:

      Professional: $99
      Student/Individual with disability/Family: $40

      Registration will close September 30, 2011.

      Any requests for refunds must be received by September 30, 2011.


  • disABILITY Conference Mission
    • The University of Scranton believes that disability is part of the human experience and that assisting individuals and families living with disabilities to achieve optimal quality of life requires multidisciplinary interventions, education, research and leadership. The mission of the Conference on disABILITY is to positively influence the quality of life and wellness of individuals and families living with disabilities by promoting in its deliberations the foundational principles of individualization, self-determination, productivity, employment, independence and full participation in community life by creating an effective learning environment, collaborative and focused discussion and the identification and sharing of effective practices useful in the United States and around the world.

  • Conference Co-Chairs
    • Lori Bruch, Ed.D.

      e-mail: bruchl1@scranton.edu

      voice: 570-941-4308

      fax: 570-941-7950

      Rebecca Spirito Dalgin, Ph.D.

      e-mail: dalginr2@scranton.edu

      voice: 570-941-7819

      fax: 570-941-7950

      Valarie Clark

      e-mail: clarkv4@scranton.edu

      voice: 570-941-4071

  • Conference Program
    • 7:45–8:30 a.m.  
      Registration and Continental Breakfast

      8:30–8:45 a.m.  
      Presentation of Colors
      Vocal Presentation, Heather Stuart, University of Scranton Graduate Student
      Opening Remarks: Rev. Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., President, The University of Scranton;  Debra A. Pellegrino, Ed.D., Dean, The Panuska College 
of Professional Studies; Edward R. and Patricia Leahy, Honorary Conference Chairs

      8:45–9:45 a.m.  Opening Keynote Address
      Kathleen West-Evans, MPA, CRC, Director of Business Relations, Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation 
      Beth A. Butler, Esq., Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

      9:45–10:45 a.m.  Morning Keynote Address 
      David DeNotaris, Director, Pennsylvania Office of Blindness 
and Visual Services, “Access Equals Success”

      10:45–11:00 a.m.  Break

      11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.  Concurrent Sessions 
      1. “Developing Legally Defensible Transition Plans/ITPs” Angela Januski Evans, Esq., Sweet, Stevens, Katz, & Williams Law Firm
      2. “Our Transition Experiences”Lisa Walters (parent) & Casey Walters (son)
      3. “An Employment Toolbox for Students and the Employer” Maureen Fairbanks, Diversity Consultant, Highmark Inc.; Joan Schindel, Placement Coordinator, Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation; and David Baum, M.S., CRC, Rehabilitation Specialist Supervisor, Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

      12:00–1:30 p.m.  Luncheon Program 
      The Honorable Robert P. Casey, Jr., United States Senator for Pennsylvania (videoconference), 
Introduced by J. Joseph Grady, Esq. 
      Cindy Klenk, Senior Policy Advisor for Pennsylvania Senator 
John P. Blake
      Edward R. Leahy Jr. Awards for Excellence, 
Edward R. and Patricia Leahy
      Annual Conference Poem, Josie Cordaro

      1:30–2:00 p.m.  National Legislative Update

      Steve Wooderson, Executive Director, Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation

      2:00–3:00 p.m.  Afternoon Keynote Address
      The Honorable Lynnae Ruttledge, Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

      3:00–3:15 p.m.  Break

      3:15–4:15 p.m.  Concurrent Sessions 
      1. Panel on Contemporary Issues on Transition Ellen Cummings, Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19
Sandie Lamanna, The University of Scranton 
Gwen Devendorf, Wallenpaupack School District 
      2. “Engaging Families in the Transition Process”Donna Wandry, Ph.D., West Chester University
      3. “Transition — Employer Best Practices”Panel Moderator: David Baum, M.S., CRC, Rehabilitation Specialist Supervisor, Pennsylvania Office of Vocational Rehabilitation

      4:15–4:30 p.m.  Break

      4:30–6:00 p.m.  An Evening with Dale DiLeo 
      Author, consultant and well-known advocate for people with disabilities
      “The Future is Now: Full Inclusion for People with Disabilities”

  • Conference Brochure

  • The Honorable Lynnae Ruttledge
    • Commissioner, Rehabilitation Services Administration, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C.

      RuttledgeLynnae M. Ruttledge has served as the Director of the Washington Department of Social and Health Service, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation since 2005. She is responsible for leading Washington’s vocational rehabilitation program, working annually with more than 23,000 individuals with significant disabilities to achieve their vocational goals. Previously, Ruttledge served in leadership positions at the Oregon Department of Human Services, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for more than 25 years. Ruttledge began her public service career in Michigan as a classroom teacher in the public school system. She has received numerous recognitions and awards for her service including the Washington Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management in 2007. As a person born with a disability, Ruttledge received assistance from the vocational rehabilitation program and graduated from the Northern Michigan University with a B.A. in Education.

  • Kathleen West-Evans
    • Kathy West EvansKathy West-Evans, the CSAVR Director of Business Relations is from the State of Washington. Kathy has her MPA from Seattle University, a BS from the University of Washington and is a CRC who is fluent in American Sign Language. She has been in the field of rehabilitation since 1978. She started her professional career working as a vocational consultant and manager of the Projects with Industry (PWI) program at the Hearing, Speech and Deafness Center in Seattle. She moved into the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) in 1983 as a VR counselor for consumers who are deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing. Kathy held a number of positions within DVR during her 14-year tenure with the state agency. In addition to her time as a VR counselor, she worked as an assistant regional administrator, a regional business relations specialist, and the Statewide Manager for Business Relations and Marketing. In 1997, Kathy moved to the federal level with the Region X office of Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) where she worked until July 2005. Kathy was employed as a RSA VR Program Specialist, serving as the State representative to Oregon and Alaska as well as the regional specialist in the areas of employment and business development, the ADA, training, CSPD, PWI, and services to individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind or hard of hearing. She served on the planning committee for the RSA – CSAVR National Employment Conferences in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004. Kathy is the co-founder of the ACCESS - conference, job fair, technology and resource expo for business and people with disabilities held annually in the Seattle area since 1994.
  • Dale DiLeo
    • The Future is Now: Full Inclusion for People with Disabilities

      Dale DeLeoDale will review the obstacles and strategies to address the full inclusion of people with disabilities in our communities as neighbors, friends, co-workers, and classmates. Thirty years ago, as a young man working at a facility for children with autism, Dale DiLeo was shown a tiny, hot and smelly bedroom. Reserved for up to four young men with autism, those least trusted by staff, this room was locked—from the outside—all night long. It was named after Raymond, the room’s perennial resident. This presentation will discuss how, today, most people with disabilities are still locked away from the rest of society. They may not be necessarily housed in rooms like Raymond’s, but they are faced with societal discrimination and programs run by a public monopoly slow to change. 

      A widely sought-after speaker and consultant, and well known advocate for people with disabilities, Dale DiLeo has provided training throughout the US, Canada, Australia and Europe on community inclusion for persons with disabilities. Dale has trained over 75,000 participants over the past 30 years, serving as the keynote for the European Union of Supported Employment in Oslo, Norway and in Barcelona, Spain. He has consulted with state and private agencies, universities, professional associations, and corporations. He is the Past President of the Board of the Association for Persons in Supported Employment (APSE), and is the lead author of that organization's highly respected Ethical Guidelines in Supported Employment. His latest book, Raymond's Room, focuses on ending the shameful segregation of people with disabilities in community life.

  • David DeNotaris
    • Access Equals Success

      David DenotarisDavid DeNotaris is the Director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Blindness and Visual Services. He has more than 18 years of experience in developing, implementing and promoting educational, employment and technology training programs for individuals experiencing vision loss or other disabling conditions. He is responsible for a staff of 165 people and an annual budget of more than $13 million. Under his leadership, his office has developed cutting-edge programs to assist thousands of individuals with disabilities in obtaining competitive employment. After completing his master’s degree, he was nominated and selected to deliver the keynote graduate address at Montclair State University to an audience of more than 17,000 people. David has been heard saying, “My job is to tell people, ‘look at what I can do with my eyes closed. Imagine what you can do with your eyes open.’” In addition to his work with the public VR system, David is an inspirational speaker, author of Feeling Your Way Through Life, and a two-time International and three-time National Power Lifting Champion. 


  • Become a Corporate Sponsor
    • As with all special events, it is so important to have support from dedicated sponsors to achieve success. Our financial sponsors and participating vendors are an essential part of the conference experience. We invite your organization to join us in the celebration. Several packages are offered to meet your corporate needs and donation comfort level.

      To receive a sponsorship packet, please contact :

      Lori Bruch, Ed.D.

      e-mail: bruchl1@scranton.edu

      voice: 570-941-4308

      Rebecca Spirito Dalgin, P.D.

      e-mail: dalginr2@scranton.edu

      voice: 570-941-7819

  • Edward R. Leahy, Jr. Awards for Excellence
    • leahy-awards

      Edward R. and Patricia Leahy presented 3 Awards for Excellence:

      Lynnae Ruttledge for Executive Vocational Rehabilitation Leadership and Public Policy Development

      Kathleen West-Evans for Rehabilitation Leadership and Employment Systems Design

      Roger Barton for Vocational Rehabilitation Leadership (Accepted by his wife Jorja)

  • Video-Conference with Sentor Robert P. Casey, Jr.
    • senator-casey

      The United States Senator for Pennsylvania, Robert P. Casey, Jr., is introduced by J. Joseph Grady, Esq.
  • Edward R. and Patricia Leahy Gift
    • leahy-painting

      Dean Debra Pellegrino and Lori Bruch present Edward R. and Patricia Leahy with a disAbilities Conference Gift

  • Town Hall Meeting
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