Disability Awareness Week will highlight abilities

By SARA GIBONEY
UNK Communications

KEARNEY – Motivational speaker and University of Nebraska at Kearney alum Ron “Gus” Gustafson will share his story of overcoming the odds during Disability Awareness Week.

“To Abilities and Beyond” is the theme for the 20th annual event Nov. 18-21 at UNK.

Ron Gustafson

RON “GUS” GUSTAFSON

“The week was designed many years ago to bring awareness to issues on our campus that impacted people with disabilities. It has transformed into an event to raise awareness about individuals with disabilities and what individuals need to do in order to get accommodations,” said David Brandt, academic services coordinator.

A series of presentations and events will take place throughout the week, leading up to keynote speaker Gustafson on Wednesday. He will present “Turning Setbacks into Comebacks” at 7 p.m. in the Ponderosa Room in the Nebraskan Student Union.

Gustafson was involved in a childhood farm accident that left him without his right arm and shoulder. Despite the injury, he was a standout basketball player in high school and went on to play basketball at UNK.

All events throughout the week are free and open to the public.

Sophomore Emaly Ball, president of Collegians for Integration and Accessibility, said Disability Awareness Week allows students to gain a better understanding of what it’s like to be a college student with disabilities.

Ball of Lincoln suffered a traumatic brain injury after a car accident her senior year of high school. “I just think it’s important to show our abilities rather than our disabilities. It helps other people become aware of the students around them.”

The week will open with “The Disabling Effects of Domestic Violence,” which will be presented by Trish Holen from the UNK Women’s Center. The presentation is at 2 p.m. in the Cedar Room of the student union.

On Tuesday, Nov. 19, Roz Sheldon, a licensed clinical social worker and social work lecturer at UNK, will present “Psychiatric Disabilities and Higher Education.” She will speak from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the student union Cedar Room. Her presentation is sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence.

A student panel will take place at 7 p.m. in Copeland Hall room 130.

“Our hope is to have high school students and their parents attend this event,” Brandt said. “It’s for students who are leery about going to college because they have a disability. The panel will help them learn how to navigate the system and be successful.”

Three students will share their stories dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, spina bifida and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder Thursday, Nov. 21, at 2 p.m. in the Cedar Room of the union.

The week will end with a presentation from sociology professor Kurt Borchard. “Talking to Homeless People” will begin at 7 p.m. in Copeland Hall room 130.

Disability Awareness Week is sponsored by the UNK Student Organization, Collegians for Integration and Accessibility, Academic Success Offices, The Division of Student Affairs, UNK Center for Teaching Excellence, Counseling and Healthcare, and the Women’s Center.

Disability Awareness Week
Monday, Nov. 18
2 p.m. – The Disabling Effects of Domestic Violence: Trish Holen, UNK Women’s Center, Nebraskan Student Union, Cedar Room
7 p.m. – C.I.A. Game Night, Nebraskan Student Union, Multi-Cultural Affairs Office

Tuesday, Nov. 19
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Center for Teaching Excellence Presents: Roz Sheldon, Psychiatric Disabilities and Higher Education, Nebraskan Student Union, Cedar Room
2  to 4 p.m. – Matinee Movie “Radio,” Nebraskan Student Union, Cedar Room
7 p.m. – Students with Abilities: Student Panel, Copeland Hall 130

Wednesday, Nov. 20
1:30 to 3:30 p.m. - Special Olympic College: Donna Montgomery, Ph.D. and Jude Cepero, Ph.D. and Assistive Technology in the Classroom: Brian Wocik, Ph.D., Nebraskan Student Union, Cedar Room
7 to 9 p.m. – Setback into Comebacks: Ron “Gus” Gustafson, Nebraskan Student Union, Ponderosa Room

Thursday, Nov. 21
2 p.m. – Student Presentations: Three students will tell their stories of “Abilities” with PTSD, Spina Bifida and ADHD, Nebraska Student Union, Cedar Room.
7 to 8 p.m.  – Talking to Homeless People, Dr. Kurt Borchard, Copeland Hall 130.

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Source: David Brandt, 308.865.8798, brandtdl@unk.edu
Writer: Sara Giboney, 308.865.8529, giboneys2@unk.edu

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