17th Annual U.S. Conference On DisABILITY

17th Annual U.S. Conference On DisABILITY


There are two registration options for this year's conference: Free Registration and CEU Registration. The conference is free and open to the public, but for those who would like to receive CEUs, there is a $25 fee. CEUs available for this year's conference include NBCC, PA/Professional Counselor/LSW, and CRCC.

Electronic registration for this year's conference is now closed. Walk-up registration are welcome the day of the conference.


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.


Keynote Presentation

Bern Gavlick

Bern Gavlick graduated Neshaminy High School in 1997 after being fully included from 1st – 12th grade. He went on to graduate from Ursinus College in 2001 with a Bachelors Degree in Exercise & Sports Science and double minors in Biology & Psychology. From there he went on to La Salle University and completed a Masters Degree in Marriage & Family Therapy and in 2002, and was inducted into Psi Chi, the Psychology National Honors Society. He then attended Immaculata University and completed PA Certificates in Elementary & Secondary School Guidance Counseling in 2008.  After a 4 years in long term substitute positions, Bern has been working as the 8th grade guidance counselor at F.D.R. Middle School in the Bristol Twp. S.D. since 2012.

Bern enjoys volunteering as a coach for F.D.R.’s football and track & field teams.  He’s also the goaltending coach for the Harry S. Truman H.S. Varsity Ice Hockey Team.  In addition to these school-related activities, Bern serves as the play-by-play broadcaster for Ursinus College Football and color commentator for WBCB 1490 AM’s coverage of high school ice hockey in Bucks County.

In Bern’s free time, he enjoys exercising as much as possible, walking/running in “1-mile fun runs”, watching ice hockey & football on television, reality tv., listening to alternative rock, punk, & heavy metal music, and using social media

Bill Ziegler

Bill Ziegler was a teacher of special education from 1975-1983 at Eastern State School and Hospital. Since 1983 he has been an Assistive Technology Consultant with the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22 in Doylestown, PA. He assists his IU, along with IEP teams in 14 local school districts in Bucks County, to find appropriate assistive technology solutions for students with physical, sensory and learning difficulties. Bill has been an Apple Distinguished Educator since 2003.

Always up for travel, Hawks games, learning new things, audio production, computer stuff, accessible design, oh… and talking with anyone about where I have been, where I am and where I may be going in life. 

I grew up in small town South Dakota, raised by two amazing parents where I made life-long friends and even graduated with a degree in Computer Science that led me to Microsoft.  Microsoft has been an amazing opportunity to learn and grow both as an individual and as a manager where I have worked on shipping every major version of Windows in the last 20 years.  Most recently I have been working to help make software not only accessible but usable for those who are blind and have low vision.  You can see some of this work in the Windows 10 Craftsmanship video.

In my personal life I love travel and have been to Africa, Cambodia, and places beyond.  I have a large range of hobbies from photography to more recently audio production.  Through the audio production I’ve started working on a Podcast series about those who have low vision and those around them, so other can listen and learn about their lives from many angles.

Mike Marotta, ATP - Inclusive Technology Evangelist; President, Inclusive Technology Solutions, LLC

Mike is a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional who has been providing direct services to individuals with all disabilities for almost 30 years. Mike is the 2017 ISTE Inclusive Learning Network Outstanding Educator. Mike is a nationally and internationally recognized presenter who was previously a trainer for California State University at Northridge (CSUN), providing practical and in-depth training to professionals interested in specializing in assistive technology. In addition, Mike is an adjunct professor at Ramapo College of New Jersey (NJ) where he teaches Masters level educators in Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning. Mike is the Director of the Richard West Assistive Technology Advocacy Center at Disability Rights New Jersey and serves on the CAST Accessible Educational Materials Advisory Board. Mike is also the founder of EdcampAccess NJ and co-moderator of the weekly #ATchat Twitter chat.

Susan Tachau is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of the non-profit, Pennsylvania Assistive Technology Foundation (PATF), the Commonwealth’s Alternative Financing Program as designated by the federal Assistive Technology Act. PATF is also a state and federally-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). PATF has helped more than 3,300 individuals with disabilities and older Pennsylvanians finance the assistive technology they need with loan extensions of more than $37 million.

Ms. Tachau is a co-author of the financial education book “Cents and Sensibility: A Guide to Money Management” and is coordinator of a pilot program that incorporates financial education with the establishment of an Individual Development Account and an ABLE account for people with disabilities who are transitioning into adulthood.

Ms. Tachau serves on several Boards of Directors and advisory committees, including the National Disability Institute, the Disability CDFI Coalition, the Montgomery County Aging and Adult Services Advisory Committee, and the Technology Subcommittee of the National Council on Independent Living. Ms. Tachau received a B.A. from Colorado College, a M.A. from the Eagleton 

Dr. Therese Willkomm is the Director of New Hampshire’s State Assistive Technology Program with the Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and is a clinical associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy where she teaches eight different Assistive Technology courses and oversees the Graduate Certificate in Assistive Technology. Dr. Willkomm is the first PhD graduate in Rehabilitations Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh. She is known nationally and internationally as the “McGyver” for her innovative strategies for creating solutions in minutes. She has designed and fabricated over two thousand solutions for individuals with disabilities including her patented A.T. Pad Stand, a multiuse assistive technology mounting device. She is also known throughout the county for her trainings on awesome iPAD apps and adaptations. She has presented her work in 42 states, nine foreign countries and three U.S. Territories; has written 22 assistive technology related publications including her new book titled: “Assistive Technology Solutions in Minutes – Book 2 – Ordinary Items, Extraordinary Solutions ; and has appeared on RFD TV, CNN and most recently NPR Science Friday. Dr. Willkomm has received numerous national awards and recognitions including: being recognized by President Obama for the Obama Lean; invited to present at the 2016 White House Summit on Technology and Disability; recipient of the 2015 Dean Choice Award from SHRS at Pitt; recipient of the 2017 Governor’s Accessibility Award for her years of service in creating accessible solutions for individual with disabilities and recipient of the 2018 President’s Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities Award at UNH.