18th Annual U.S. Conference On DisABILITY


Contact Information and 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.

If you would like further information about the conference, please contact the conference co-chairs: Rebecca Dalgin, rebecca.dalgin@scranton.edu, 570-941-7819 or Lori Bruch, lori.bruch@scranton.edu, 570-941-4308.

Registration is closed for this year's conference.

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.



Patrick R. Progar, Ph.D., BCBA-D Is Vice President of Behavioral Services at The Center for Neurological and Neurodevelopmental Health and an adjunct faculty member at Rider University. Previous to this he served as the Executive Director of Princeton Child Development Institute for several years. Patrick also served as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor of Applied Behavior Analysis at Caldwell College (now Caldwell University). Patrick received his BA degree from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire and his MS and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. Patrick has served as a faculty member at several colleges and universities and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental disabilities and applied behavior analysis at Children’s Seashore House of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Research interests involve choice behavior, behavioral economics, self-management and a general interest in translational research.


Deya Velasco

Deya’s most important and rewarding role is and has been to be a Mom of two wonderful children in the autism spectrum. Deya holds degrees in Agricultural Engineering and a master’s degree in Human Services as well as a Certification in Advanced Mediation. Professionally, Deya has been fortunate to be part of great organizations that share her belief that access to relevant information and supports improves the outcomes and quality of life of individuals with disabilities and their families.

For more than 25 years Deya has served her community through various community service organizations. As a member of the Arc of the Capital Area, Deya advocated for more than 250 families with disabilities and of low socio-economic means (primarily Spanish speaking) in the educational system, promoting special education rights, supervising emotional support groups for families of children with disabilities and supporting collaboration between schools and parents. At CASA of Travis county, Deya supervised more than 30 volunteers appointed to represent in court the best interest of children under the care of child protective services. Deya was also a Program Coordinator for the Autism Society of Texas where she oversaw adult supports.

Deya published a parent-to-parent support model for families of children with disabilities in Mexico. More recently, she collaborated with Safe Place Austin in creating “Promotion of Justice - An Essential Resource Guide for Responding to Abuse Against Children with Disabilities”, a document intended to provide essential knowledge of autism for first responders and the judicial system.

Jose Velasco Jr

Jose Velasco Jr is a Computer Science Student at the Austin Community College and currently works as a seasonal Clerk at the Internal Revenue Service.in Austin, TX. In 2016 Jose was a panelist at the Autism Society National Convention in New Orleans. In 2016 he was a motivational speaker at the Hilltop Academy in Rosemont, PA. in 2014 he was named employee of the month at the Home Dept. in 2013 the Austin Independent School District awarded him the Hispanic Academic Achievement award for Community Service. In 2013, Jose earned 3rd place as a JV Wrestler in the AISD district meet. Jose’s featured CBS Austin story “Yes Way Jose” was awarded as the best documentary in the state of Texas in 2013. In 2012 Jose earned his Eagle Scout, having received commendation letters from President Barak Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, U.S. Representative H. Lloyd Doggett and Austin Police Department Chief, Art Acevedo. Jose was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at the age of 3.

Defining Autism: From Nonverbal to Professional Speaker


Kerry Magro is an award-winning professional speaker and best-selling author who's on the autism spectrum. He started professional speaking 8 years ago via the National Speakers Association and has spoken at over 800 events during that time. In addition Kerry is CEO & President of KFM Making A Difference, a nonprofit organization that hosts inclusion events and has provided 60 scholarships for students with autism for college. In his spare time he hosts a Facebook Page called A Special Community that now has 160,000 Facebook followers where he does on-camera interviews highlighting people impacted by a diagnosis. His videos have been watched over 25 Million times. He'll be available during the event to interview several self-advocates to give them a platform to spotlight their stories.

Kerry’s best-selling books Defining Autism From The Heart, Autism and Falling in Love and I Will Light It Up Blue! have all reached Amazon Best-Seller Lists for Special Needs Parenting. He’ll be available after his talk to sign copies of his books. For his efforts, Kerry has been featured in major media and worked with amazing brands including The Today Show, CBS News, Inside Edition, Upworthy and Huffington Post among others. Kerry resides in Hoboken, New Jersey and you can learn more about him and his work at Kerrymagro.com or contact him directly at Kerrymagro@gmail.com.

Greatly I Dream….The Journey Towards A Colorful Life with Autism


Jeremy Sicile-Kira

Jeremy Sicile-Kira is an autistic San Diego-based intuitive artist. In his early years, Jeremy was placed  in moderate/severe classrooms as well as having an after-school home program. By age 17, Jeremy had little speech but learned to type and point to letters. Subsequent to assessments, his local high school placed him in general education classes, and  Jeremy graduated at age 21 with a full academic diploma. Advocacy for others is an important part of Jeremy’s life and he  co-authored a book  A Full Life with Autism : (Macmillan) to help others transitioning to adult life.

In 2012, Jeremy  began to tell others about his dreams: dreams that he was painting the emotions of people into colorful abstract portraits. Jeremy was encouraged by his mother to make his dreams come true, and began to paint in real life. In 2016 his first  curated solo show was covered by local and national media resulting in a sold-out show and many private commissions.  Jeremy continues his art career by participating in art shows and meeting clients for private commissions in his studio in San Diego or via Facetime.  To inspire others, Jeremy  gives “ability awareness” talks at local elementary and high schools, and does live painting demonstrations at conferences. For more information go to: Jeremysvision.com   


A block of rooms has been reserved for the conference for October 9 and 10, 2019. Please contact one of the hotels below if you are interested in booking a room.

Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel
Rate: $109 per night

Cutoff Date: September 9, 2019

Hilton Scranton & Conference Center
Rate: $119 per night

Cutoff Date: September 18, 2019