For the Abilities Expo workshop series, we select presenters whose individual lives are as relevant to the Community as the issues they are addressing. Our speakers have years of experience and are highly knowledgeable in their fields. Their accomplishments precede them and many are recognized nationally and within their state for their ongoing work with people with disabilities. All our speakers have apparent and non-apparent disabilities, work in the disability field or are the sibling or parent of a person with disabilities.
Credit-Able Consumer Liaison, The Center for Financial Independence & Innovation
Daphne Brookins is the Credit-Able Consumer Liaison with The Center for Financial Independence & Innovation (CFII). Before joining CFII, she served over 10 years at Emory University in the Sociology Department. She also worked at DeKalb County Workforce. Learn more at www.thecfii.org.
Managing Your Money
Alonzo J. Davis, Esq.
Associate Attorney, Monge & Associates
Alonzo is an Associate Attorney who represents clients in their pursuit of Social Security Disability Benefits by presenting their cases at hearings. He has a Bachelor of Arts from Anderson University in South Carolina, and earned his JD from Liberty University School of Law. In addition to his time preparing and arguing cases before a Judge, he helps provide instruction, guidance, and training to staff on various matters related to the adjudication process. He states, “The adjudication process can become quite complicated due to the ever evolving nature of social security law. Because of the ever-changing nature, it is very important that we make sure our clients know what is going on with their case and how certain changes may have affected the status of their claim.” “I am passionate about the work that I do. I love the fact that every day I get the opportunity to help someone’s life change for the better. There is no greater feeling than winning a case for a client and knowing that they can now live life a little easier.” When asked about the greatest aspect of his job, Alonzo stated “helping my clients so that they can try to make a difficult live circumstance a little better.” Alonzo recently relocated to Georgia from Chicago, IL, where he began his practice. About the transition, he states, “I am definitely happy to be back to warmer weather after having grown up in the small town of Ninety-Six, SC.” Outside of work, Alonzo enjoys spending time with his wife and their Yellow Labrador Retriever. He states that they love to hike and run together as a family, as well as hang out with their friends. He loves to fish and tries to go as much as he can.
Social Security Disability Denied: How to Build a Strong Claim
Nancy W. Duncan
Executive Director, Disability Resource Group
Ms. Duncan has been the director of Disability Resource Group since its inception in 1994. She has spent much of her life as an advocate for people with disabilities. Ms. Duncan conducts ADA and disability awareness workshops across Georgia and is a technical assistance consultant for a National Disabilities Law hotline. She has also worked in the field of emergency preparedness since 2006. Ms. Duncan consults with government, businesses, people with disabilities and their families, offering guidance and solutions for helping them accomplish their goals. She is blind herself and so brings her personal as well as professional experience to bear on her subject. She has three children, one of whom is also blind and has autism.
Ten Things People with Disabilities Should Know and Do To Be Safe In a Disaster
Ann Eubank, LMSW, OTR/L, ATP
VP of Community Initiatives, UsersFirst, a program of United Spinal Association
Ann Eubank, LMSW, OTR/L, ATP is the director of UsersFirst, a program of United Spinal Association. UsersFirst seeks to increase access to wheeled mobility for all people, by empowering consumers and health care professionals. Ann holds an adjunct faculty position at Belmont University School of Occupational Therapy. She writes for various mobility publications and offers a grassroots blog. Ann has been immersed in the community of people who use wheelchairs for over 20 years. She has developed and presented educational programs nationally and internationally since 1995. More information available at www.usersfirst.org.
Push for More! Getting the Wheelchair that Works for You
Audrey Gargiullo, MS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
Audrey Gargiullo, MSOTR/L, is an Occupational Therapist with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). She has been a pediatric occupational therapist for eleven years practicing as an outpatient therapist at CHOA for 6 years. Other areas of practice include City of Decatur Schools, Marcus Center Behavior program and Dekalb Medical Center. Specialty areas of practice include sensory integration, autism spectrum disorders, feeding therapy, Therapeutic Listening and assistive technology. She currently serves on the board of the Georgia Occupational Therapy Association (GOTA).
Fun Free (or Cheap) iPad Applications for Kids
Community Outreach Coordinator, Disability Resource Group
Laura George is the current Community Outreach Coordinator for Disability Resource Group, concentrating on healthcare and emergency preparedness issues. Her career in emergency preparedness began when her husband became paralyzed in a hit and run accident and they faced South Florida hurricanes together. Motivated by her experiences with her husband, she became actively involved in advocacy for people with disabilities in all aspects of emergency management design. She has participated in a variety of emergency preparedness committees both at the state and local level.
Ten Things People with Disabilities Should Know and Do To Be Safe In a Disaster
Senior Account Manager, BraunAbility
Brian Harper is the Senior Account Manager for BraunAbility and works with specific dealers from across the country. Prior to his past five years with Braun, he served as Director of Marketing and National Sales Manager for a manufacturer in another industry. Altogether, Brian has worked with dealer networks and customers for over 25 years. His work at BraunAbility allows him to participate in each of the nationwide Abilities Expos.
How to Select the Right Accessible Vehicle for You
Co-Founder, Annie's Brother, and Director of Awesome, 3E Love
Stevie Hopkins is a serial entrepreneur who after many ventures finally found his life's work in 3E Love. Calling on his experiences in the financial industry, music business, and web startups, Stevie was able to turn his sister Annie's dreams into a reality. He has worked tirelessly to spread the symbol across the globe. The experiences he has had traveling thousands of miles, meeting people all over the country and speaking to groups telling his story, has changed his life forever. More at www.3elove.com.
Young, Hip and Disabled: College, Work and More
Founder, Lorrin's World and Abilities Expo Ambassador
Karen Kain - a parent of a medically fragile, vaccine-injured child named Lorrin for fifteen years – teaches parents how to enjoy their children no matter their abilities. She shares how she bridged the gap from special needs to mainstream experiences in all arenas of life: best friends, slumber parties, concerts, camping, beauty pageants, Girl Scouts, school dances, musicals and endless travels. Karen is committed to helping children who are living a unique life experience by supporting their parents. In 1994 her daughter Lorrin was severely vaccine injured and at that time Karen’s world fell apart. Life as she knew it was put “on hold” as she tried everything that she could to “heal” Lorrin and give her the best life possible. When Lorrin was 3, Karen made a pivitol choice to embrace Lorrin’s uniqueness and enjoy all areas of life, living without rules and boundaries. Karen overcame life’s massive roadblocks as she raised Lorrin. Together they held their heads high as they paved the way to giving all parents permission to explore and enjoy life. Karen found that the solution to winning in this life of parenting a unique child started with being committed to having a great attitude and perspective regardless of their situation.
Thriving, Not Just Surviving, as the Parent of a Special Needs Child
Easy Access Travel
Debra Kerper received her travel training at Coastline Community College where she was the recipient of the TATE AWARD for outstanding academic performance and goals in the travel industry. Her desire to pursue a career in Travel for the Disabled came from her personal experience as a physically challenged traveler. Debra has been living with Lupus since the age of 20, spent six years full time in a wheelchair as the result of a bone infection in her legs and became a below knee amputee at the age of 29. She has undergone over 30 surgeries and has spent much time using a wheelchair as well as enjoying long periods of good health and short distance walking. She has a very keen understanding of medical ailments and disabling conditions resulting from excessive time spent in hospitals and outpatient rehab facilities. Debra travels extensively with a wheelchair and/or a scooter and has learned how to MINIMIZE THE FRUSTRATIONS while MAXIMIZING THE ENJOYMENT of visiting new and exciting destinations. She has visited more than 30 countries and has been on over 75 cruises. She is able to share her knowledge and expertise with other disabled persons as well as those who simply want to travel at a more leisurely pace. She possesses very strong interpersonal skills and a love of helping people. Learn more at www.easyaccesstravel.com.
Travel the World! Tips for People with Disabilities or Who Are Aging
Melissa McGinnis, PT, MPT
Senior Pediatric Intensive PT, Euro-Pēds National Center for Intensive Pediatric PT
Melissa is the lead intensive therapy specialist for Euro-Peds, a nationally-recognized intensive therapy program based out of Doctors’ Hospital of Michigan. She has a Master’s Degree from Oakland University’s accredited Physical Therapy program, and additional training and hands-on experience using intensive therapy tools, such as the Universal Exercise Unit and Suit Therapy. Melissa trains other therapists as well as oversees PT and PTA students during their clinical rotations. She also speaks regularly to health professionals and parent groups at special needs educational forums and conferences around the United States in an effort to highlight research and techniques surrounding this emerging treatment for children who have gross motor disorders.
Intensive Pediatric PT—The Benefits for Your Child’s Body, Mind & Spirit
Amy Morgan, PT, ATP
Pediatric & Standing Specialist, Permobil, Inc.
Amy has been involved in wheelchair seating since beginning her career as a physical therapist. Amy worked for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in the past where she was involved in both outpatient and inpatient settings. This experience allowed her to work with a variety of patient populations. Additionally, Amy was the lead therapist in the Wheelchair Clinic, which included evaluation for equipment as well as power mobility training for young children. She has presented lectures both nationally and internationally. Amy is currently the Pediatric and Standing Specialist for Permobil, Inc. and is an active member of RESNA and APTA (Pediatrics and Neurology Section Member).
Pediatric Power Mobility: Functional Solutions for Kids
Photojournalist and Storyteller, Assignment Atlanta
A photojournalist and storyteller, Robin worked for more than 25 years for Newsweek, Time, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal. Robin now works as a documentary photojournalist for the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities and other agencies/non-profits as well continuing his work with several photo agencies. Robin’s connection to the disabilities community is not by chance. His son is differently-abled due to a stroke at birth. Learn more at www.assignmentatlanta.com.
Disabled and Dating! Relationships, Intimacy and More!
Mary Peterson, CTC
Accessible Travel Consultant, ABLE to Travel, a program of United Spinal Association
Mary Peterson is a certified travel consultant and has been working in the travel industry for the past twelve years. She is currently working for ABLE to Travel, a program of Untied Spinal Association. Mary has extensive knowledge especially when it comes to planning accessible travel. She is an expert in the field, as she has dealt with all types of issues that a traveler using a wheelchair or who has limited mobility may encounter during a trip. Mary’s background in nursing has given her an advantage in knowing the broad spectrum of disabilities and how to better meet her clients’ needs. As a travel consultant at ABLE to Travel, Mary is extremely knowledgeable about accessible ground transportation to and from the airport, stowage of wheelchairs and other mobility equipment on board an aircraft, accessible hotel accommodations, accessible cruise bookings, medical equipment rental at the destination, accessible train reservations, travel insurance, tour groups and package deals, arranging for lift equipped vans and car rentals with and without hand controls. Additionally, Mary is a member of the TSA’s Disability Coalition under the TSA Office of Disability, Policy and Outreach which improves the security screening experience for passengers with disabilities. Mary is able to provide feedback to the Coalition based on the experience of her clients traveling worldwide.
Planning Accessible Travel
Born in Gary, Indiana, Narcel G. Reedus is a writer, director, independent filmmaker and media artist. He has won national awards for his dramatic short films For Colored Boys Who’ve Considered Homicide, Race Juice: An Elixir for the Soul, Waddie Welcome and The Fight. He also won a Peabody for his writing on the NPR radio documentary Will the Circle Be Unbroken. His films have screened at the Lincoln Center in New York, on PBS, in Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Austin, Chicago, Atlanta and in international film festivals in Rotterdam, Bermuda, Milan and Berlin. Narcel earned his MFA in Film and Media Arts from Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the fall of 2009, Narcel relocated to Atlanta and began production on the feature-length documentary Not Home: A documentary about kids living in nursing facilities.
Screening of "Not Home" A Documentary About Kids Living In Nursing Facilities
Rev. Virginia Rodes, PhD
Project Specialist, Russell Professional Group
Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2000, Virginia continues an active professional life as a former pastor and project specialist. With a PhD in religion and sexology from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, Dr. Rodes has led human sexuality workshops, trainings, and written human sexuality curriculum. She is a project specialist for job readiness with the Russell Professional Group (RPG) a group of skilled professionals who are certified by the Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency to assist individuals with developmental and acquired disabilities prepare for and gain competitive employment.
Disabled and Dating! Relationships, Intimacy and More!
Naomi Walker, JD
Attorney, The Georgia Advocacy Office
Naomi Walker, J.D., is an attorney with The Georgia Advocacy Office. She has worked for approximately 18 years on helping people obtain the equipment they need and help them in their advocacy for funding. At the same time, she has worked on helping to break down systemic to people obtaining what they need.
Practical Strategies for Funding Assistive Technology
Executive Director, The Center for Financial Independence & Innovation
Jacqueline Wilks is the Director of The Center for Financial Independence & Innovation (CFII). She holds a Master of Public Administration from New Mexico State University with a concentration in public policy as well as Bachelors degrees in Sociology and Religion from Wofford College. Jackie has worked in the nonprofit sector for 11 years with an emphasis on program management and resource development. Learn more at www.thecfii.org.
Managing Your Money