University’s 12th Annual Conference on disABILITY Set for October 2

Oct 1, 2013

The University of Scranton’s 12th annual Northeastern U.S. Conference on disABILITY will focus on employment, transition and independent living. National experts, policy makers and inspirational speakers will present at the conference on Wednesday, Oct. 2, at the DeNaples Center.

Hosted by the University’s Panuska College of Professional Studies with the support of the Edward R. Leahy, Jr. Endowment, the theme for the 2013 Conference on disability is “Real Rehabilitation Renaissance: Ignited by Inspiration and Innovation.”

Keynote speakers include Janet LaBreck, the newly confirmed Commissioner of the Rehabilitative Services Administration for the U.S. Department of Education, and John Ficca, program director of Hands On Educational Services, Inc.

The Rehabilitation Services Administration provides leadership and fiscal resources to assist state and other agencies to provide vocational rehabilitation, independent living and other services to individuals with disabilities.

Ficca, who taught hospitality/culinary management, partnered with Hyatt Hotel Corporation and the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in 1998 to develop a reality-based, hospitality training program for persons with disabilities. He will present “Effective Public/Private Partnerships are Like a Good Marriage” at the conference.

The conference will close with a 4:30 p.m. presentation of “Handicap This! Stage Show,” an entertaining and inspirational presentation that seeks to dispel misunderstandings about cerebral palsy and other disabilities and underscores the possibilities people possesses to overcome obstacles. The performance features Mike Berkson, founding member of Handicap This!, and Tim Wambach, president of the Keep On Keeping On Foundation and author of “How We Roll,” a book describing his relationship with Berkson, who was born with cerebral palsy.

In addition, the 2013 conference features sessions led by state and nationally recognized leaders, including remarks by U.S. Senator Robert Casey Jr. The sessions provide information on interagency collaboration in research and practice, the risk of addition for persons with disabilities, and incorporating alternative microfinancing and financial education to obtain assistive technology, among other topics.

Continuing education units are available for certification and licensure in the counseling, social work, marriage and family therapy, education, human resources and allied health professions. Registration is required to attend the conference, however, the 4:30 p.m. of Handicap This! is open to the public, free of charge.

Honorary chairpersons are Edward R. Leahy ’68, H’01 and Patricia Leahy, interim executive director of the National Rehabilitation Association. This year’s sponsors include Allied Integrated Health System, Quantum Rehab/ Pride Mobility Products, Friendship House, Mobility Works/VCI Mobility, Northeast PA Society of Human Resources Management and Peter Amato, author, “Soul Silence.” The media partner for the conference is WNEP, the news station.

Additional information about the conference can be found at, or by emailing the conference co-chairs Rebecca Spirito Dalgin, Ph.D., associate professor of counseling and human services, (, or Lori Bruch, Ed.D, (, associate professor of counseling and human services.

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