County to Host 7th Annual ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ Conference on Thursday, November 30th
Dutchess County’s seventh annual ThinkDIFFERENTLY Conference is to be held on Thursday, November 30th at 9am at The Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home located at 4079 Albany Post Road in Hyde Park. The free event is open to individuals, families, and providers to discuss this year’s topics of accessibility and accommodations in transportation and public spaces for those with disabilities. Registration is required as lunch is included and can be done at dutchessny.gov/tdconference.
County Executive William F.X. O’Neil said, “The services which our residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities require is one of Dutchess County governments top priorities and this conference is a great way for providers and families to build rapport and have an open dialog, so we can identify and address those needs. This year’s agenda highlights key topics, and we are proud to facilitate connections and support through this conference that will better the lives of our residents of all abilities.”
Throughout the conference, guest speakers, providers and transportation professionals will share insight and discuss resources and services available to residents of all abilities. Both the morning and afternoon session will conclude with a question-and-answer period for attendees, where they will have the opportunity to speak with other parents and providers, ask questions, and gather information.
Following a welcome and opening remarks, the day will include the following topics and schedule:
Public Transportation 9:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m..: Services, supports, and routes available to riders of all abilities on local bus and train services.
Student Transportation 10:45 a.m.-11:15a.m.: Students rights to transportation and how parents can support and advocate for their student’s needs.
Driving while on the spectrum 11:15am-11:45 a.m.: An autism self-advocate will talk about his perspective of learning to drive with autism.
Morning Topics Question and Answer Period 11:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Lunch break 12:00pm-12:30pm.
General Accommodations for Accessibility 12:30 p.m.- 2:15 p.m.: Understanding accessibility for rights for people with developmental, intellectual, and physical disabilities in public spaces.
Question and answer period for afternoon session topics 2:15 p.m.-2:45 p.m.
Dutchess County All-Abilities Director Dana Hopkins shared, “Throughout the year my team and I interact with service providers and families and transportation is one of the most asked about topics. This is why we made sure to put heavy emphasis on this topic at this year’s conference. We are excited to provide up to date information on both transportation and accessibility to ensure the needs and rights of the population are being met.”
The “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative was created in Dutchess County in 2015 as a way of fostering a more welcoming and inclusive community for individuals of all abilities. For more information about Dutchess County’s efforts to ThinkDIFFERENTLY, as well as ways communities can be more supportive of those of every ability, is available at thinkdifferently.net.
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