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Disability Dialogue Series

Overview

The Disability Dialogue Series is an initiative aimed at providing information and training to the NPS workforce that addresses the issues and safety requirements that a post-pandemic workplace may create for people with disabilities. In this series, led by people with disabilities who are directly impacted by the issues a post-pandemic world raises, learn how to provide the most accessible and inclusive experience you can for your visitors and coworkers alike.

To get notifications about upcoming Disability Dialogue offerings, email us at: accessibility@nps.gov.

Upcoming Webinars

Stay tuned to learn about the next sessions in the Disability Dialogue Series! To sign up for notifications about the next call, email us at: accessibility@nps.gov.


Past Webinars

Each webinar in the series will be recorded and shared on this page. Please check back periodically for new content!

Disability Dialogue #1: COVID-19 Impacts for Individuals who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing

Disability Dialogue #1 Webinar Recording

This webinar focuses on the deaf community and offers accommodation suggestions. The transcript for this webinar is also available. Panelists: Kristi Rugg, Keith Routley, Judy Kesler.

Disability Dialogue #2: COVID-19 Impacts for Individuals with Mobility Disabilities

Disability Dialogue #2 Webinar Recording

This webinar focuses on COVID-19 and its impacts on individuals with mobility disabilities in national parks. Panelists: Colin Heffern, Hank Mallery, and Brian Bard.

Disability Dialogue #3: COVID-19 Impacts for Individuals who are Blind or have Low Vision

Disability Dialogue #3 Webinar Recording

This webinar addresses the impacts of COVID-19 on visitors who are blind or have low vision and discusses the issues that may arise related to the adaptive recovery of national park units. Panelists: Katie Kalel, Marsha Mazz, and Candice Jorden.

Disability Dialogue #4: Using Federal Relay Service

Disability Dialogue #4 Webinar Recording

This webinar focuses on using the Federal Relay Service to provide accommodations for employees with disabilities. You can also download a copy of FedRelay’s brochurePanelists: Katie Day, Kyrstin Kempf, Tatyana Mezentseva.

Disability Dialogue #5: COVID-19 Impacts for Individuals with Intellectual and Cognitive Disabilities

Disability Dialogue #5 Webinar Recording

This webinar focuses on people who have intellectual and cognitive disabilities in national parks. Panelists: Jordan Oliver and Dr. Cathy Pratt. Jordan Oliver is in his final year of law school at Indiana University and will be joining Barnes & Thornburg as an associate after graduation. Jordan was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at 11 years old. Dr. Cathy Pratt is the director of the Indiana Resource Center for Autism and the Indiana School Mental Health Initiative at Indiana’s Institute on Disability and Community, Indiana University, Bloomington. Dr. Pratt is also a board certified behavior analyst.

Disability Dialogue #6: Employees for the Advancement of People with Disabilities ERG

Disability Dialogue #6 Webinar Recording

To kick off National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we were joined by panelists Lark Weller, Judy Kesler, and Richard De La O to talk about the purpose, mission, and work of the Employees for the Advancement of People with Disabilities ERG.

Disability Dialogue #7: Assistive Technology for Employees with Disabilities

Disability Dialogue #7 Webinar Recording

Continuing in our celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we will hear from two employees with disabilities about the assistive technologies they use to succeed in their jobs and everyday life. Panelists: Colin Heffern and Carissa Hyatt.

Disability Dialogue #8: Wheelchairs, Other Power Driven Mobility Devices (OPDMDs), and E-bikes

Disability Dialogue #8 Webinar Recording

This webinar focuses on mobility devices, offering a look at a variety of technologies, how/why they are used by people with a mobility disability and a discussion of barriers they encounter. Panelists: Roy Tuscany, founder of the High Fives Foundation. Started in 2009, the High Fives Foundation focuses on preventing life-changing injuries and provides resources and hope if they happen. Jason Stoffer, B.S. degree in Natural Sciences/Biology from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Jason’s love of outdoor adventure led him to work and play there as a mountaineer, long distance hiker, wild-land firefighter, search and rescue technician, EMT, and Law Enforcement Officer. Joe Stone is the director of mission at Teton Adaptive Sports. Aside from his advocacy, Joe’s work is to promote, support, and develop outdoor sports and recreation opportunities for people with disabilities living in and visiting the greater Teton Area. Jeremy McGhee, has a goal of inspiring others with disabilities to get off the pavement. Founder of the UnPavement, Jeremy provides trail videos and has been working to establish a universal adaptive trail rating system. 

Disability Dialogue #9: Improving Information About Accessibility on NPS Websites

Disability Dialogue #9 Webinar Recording

Panelists:
Erik Weihenmayer
Athlete, adventurer, author, and so many other things. Erik is the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, yet that is just one of many fantastic endeavors. He also runs the non-profit, No Barriers. No Barriers offers a variety of in-person and online education and adventure programs working to remind us that adversity doesn’t care about race, class, creed, color, job title, or location.

Jodi Roman
Jodi lives and works in Estes Park, Colorado.  She has worked as a physical therapist for years and just a few months ago started her own business.  She is the mother of a contagiously happy 8-year old, Clara.  Clara loves to ski, “read,” listen to classic rock, play the drums, snuggle, and play in her backyard Rocky Mountain National Park. Clara also has cerebral palsy, cognitive and motor delays, and is legally blind.

Enock Glidden
Was born with spina bifida and is without the use of his legs. Enock is an adventure, athlete, and advocate for others with disabilities. In his younger years, he did some wheelchair racing. More recently he has discovered rock climbing, and in true Enock style – went big — climbing the Zodiac on El Capitan in Yosemite. Through his adventures he hopes to encourage everyone to at least try, you never know what you might experience.

Disability Dialogue #10: Hidden Disabilities and Service Animals

Disability Dialogue #10 Webinar Recording

Panelists:
Wyndeth (Wendy) Davis
Wyndeth (Wendy) Davis is the Superintendent at Keweenaw National Historical Park, and a co-chair of the ERG for the Advancement of Employees with Disabilities. She began her career with NPS as a temporary archaeologist 30 years ago (at that time, most of the parks were part of a Great Inland Sea). She found her passion in interpretation and education, and served in the Alaska Regional Office, as a Education Coordinator for the NPS in Washington DC, and as head of Interpretive Planning at HFC. As a person with a disability (a seizure disorder) and a life-long Trekkie, Wendy believes that the universe’s opportunities should be accessible to people of all abilities.

Eric Provow
Eric Provow is a retired combat veteran that deployed on multiple tours to Afghanistan and Iraq. He currently works as a firefighter and paramedic. He went undiagnosed with PTSD until he attempted suicide in January of 2017. Eric still suffers from severe PTSD to the point that it limits his ability to be in crowded public settings. He was paired up with his service dog Denny in November of 2018. Denny is a 3 year old yellow Labrador Retriever and has given Eric the ability to venture out more. This is just one of the main tasks that he is trained to do and helps Eric with.

Laura Lee Putzback
Laura Lee Putzback strives to empower individuals with disabilities to become highly skilled service dog handlers who have access to a safe and inclusive community. As a Service Dog Alliance of Florida lead advocate, she and her service dog Rilee, a standard poodle, conduct business and community education and assist handlers in navigating employment, housing, transportation, and public access issues. Laura Lee is certified by the University of Missouri as an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) coordinator. She has 30+ years’ experience in the delivery, design, and management of public and private health and human services. She has managed community-based programs for the disabled and elderly. Laura Lee is a two-time recipient of the City of Virginia Beach Creativity in Public Service Award (1993 & 1997). As a volunteer, her leadership has built organizational capacity. Those roles have included: George Dame Federally Qualified Health Center Vice President; Leadership Citrus Board of Governors Chair; NAMI Florida Board of Directors; Florida Local Advocacy Council (Gubernatorial Appointed) vice-chair; and United Way of Citrus County Treasurer.

Join the Conversation

Interested in learning more, connecting with experts, and asking questions? Check out the groups below!

Accessibility and Section 508 Working Group

This group offers a space to share knowledge, resources, guidance, and training opportunities about digital accessibility and the Section 508 law.

American Sign Language in the NPS

This group is designed to reach out and connect with other park employees that know American Sign Language (ASL) at any level. How does your park interact with the Deaf community? Are there things that work well? Things that could be changed? Do you have ideas that you think would work great at other parks if there was an opportunity? Share your answers in the group!

The Spectrum of Awareness

In this group, you’re encouraged to discuss and share resources to help parks become more autism friendly and learn together. If you are looking for links to helpful resources, program ideas, and a place to view and share best practices, we highly recommend checking this group out!

Contact

If you have questions about the Disabilities Dialogue Series, please contact Jeremy Buzzell.

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