Accessibility and Disability Policy Webinars

The Accessibility and Disability Policy Webinars are free and real-time captioning is provided for all sessions.  Webinar sessions are coordinated and hosted by the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities on a monthly basis. Webinars cover a variety of topics regarding people with disabilities in ten issue areas, access, communication, criminal justice, education, emergency preparedness, employment, health, housing, transportation, and veterans. Topics of interest can benefit employers, governmental entities, service providers, and individuals with disabilities.

Find past webinars, organized by topic, on the Webinar Archive page.

Upcoming Webinars

Sign up for our Training Announcements Email List to be notified via email about all our upcoming webinars.

Save for Today and Plan for Tomorrow with a Texas ABLE Account

Scheduled for July 31, 2024

Having a disability can be expensive. Many disability-related expenses are critical to maintaining the individual’s life, independence, and quality of life. The Texas Achieving a Better Life Experience (Texas ABLE®) Program was established to assist individuals with disabilities and their families build up savings to pay for qualified disability expenses which include education, housing, and transportation.

There are many benefits to having an ABLE Account:

  • People with disabilities who rely on Social Supplemental Income (SSI) can only have savings up to a limit of $2,000 a month. Having an ABLE account allows people to save more.
  • People with disabilities can use their ABLE account as an investment that will allow their savings to grow even faster.
  • Anyone can contribute to an ABLE account, including family and friends.

GCPD has invited guests from the Educational Opportunities and Investment Division of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to join us for a webinar on Texas ABLE accounts. They’ll cover all the basics of ABLE accounts and give you details on how to open an account in Texas.

This hour-long webinar is scheduled for July 31st at 10 a.m. on the Zoom platform. Registration is required.

ASL Interpreters and captioning will be provided. For other accommodations, please send your request at least two days in advance to


Linda Fernandez, Director, Educational Opportunities and Investment Division, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Anna Mallett, Outreach Specialist, Texas ABLE Program, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Vanessa Goodson, Outreach Specialist, Texas ABLE Program, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

Recent Webinars

(Recordings are accessed by clicking on Webinar titles)

Understanding FEMA’s Accessibility Changes

Presented on July 9th, 2024

FEMA recently released an announcement explaining changes for better integration of disaster relief resources for people with disabilities. This includes major updates to disaster assistance. These updates give new ways for providing disaster support by increasing accessibility and eligibility for affected people, families, and communities. With these changes, FEMA is:

  • expanding individual assistance coverage for disability-related needs.
  • making programs and services accessible.

The Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities has invited FEMA to share the details of these updates and answer questions from people with disabilities and their families about FEMA accessibility. Knowing this information in advance makes a big difference in processing your FEMA claim during a disaster. These disasters are life-changing, so make sure you are prepared! Watch today to learn about how FEMA is providing more coverage and improving their accessibility.


Julie Reese, FEMA Region 6 Portfolio Disability Integration Specialist (Texas)

Yasmine Austria, FEMA Civil Rights Advisor

Understanding FEMA's Accessibility Changes Slides

Understanding FEMA's Accessibility Changes Transcript

Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD): Explore!

Presented on June 4th, 2024

Join us for a webinar, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD): EXPLORE!, presented by the TPWD Accessibility Manager and the State Parks Chief of Programs. Discover the latest updates and initiatives across Texas public lands, focusing on accessibility and inclusivity. From camping in a state park to touring a fish hatchery to renewing your hunting license at a law enforcement office, TPWD is committed to outdoor access for all Texans and is making strides every day to increase accessibility to facilities, programs, and services.

Learn about the different programs offered by the agency including boating education, learn-to-hunt programs, camping, and online education opportunities you can enjoy from home. TPWD staff will share resources for visitors with disabilities and demonstrate how to navigate the TPWD website to find the information you need to visit.

During this Zoom session, we'll highlight accessible facilities and outdoor spaces and discuss the role that accessibility plays in new parks and projects. Get information on adaptive equipment and all-terrain wheelchairs, making modification requests, and employment and volunteer opportunities that allow you to make a difference in our parks and beyond.

Make sure that you have everything you need to make an informed decision about visiting a TWPD facility and participating in a program.

Jessica Burke, TPWD Accessibility Manager

Todd McClanahan, State Parks Chief of Programs

Texas Parks and Wildlife: Explore! Slides

Texas Parks and Wildlife: Explore! Transcript

Law Enforcement Interaction Programs

Presented on March 28, 2024

For our first ever Criminal Justice webinar, we have invited James Sobota from the Houston Police Department. Houston’s premier law enforcement agency has a Community Service Division which has implemented an innovative program called the Positive Interaction Program (PIP). Citizens who attend these PIP events hear presentations on major law enforcement topics, meet their local officers, and get access to crucial information about crime in their city and neighborhoods. Within this program, there are 30 different PIP groups including one for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Officer Sobota will share more information about his work with the Positive Interaction Program, the impact of police interaction events on different communities including people with disabilities, and how you can work with your local police department to develop a similar program.


James Sobota, Senior Police Officer, Houston Police Department. Officer Sobota is a native Houstonian with 38 years of working for the Houston Police Department. His current duties include acting as the HPD Citywide PIP Coordinator and the HPD Deaf & Hard of Hearing Coordinator.

Law Enforcement Interaction Programs Transcript

Leveraging Personal Networks into Success

Presented on January 30, 2024

It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. A personal network is a type of ‘village’ where people get together to pool knowledge and resources for a common goal. Although parent involvement is an early predictor of their child’s academic and vocational success, the networks that families form also play a large role in the successful development and stability of a child into their adult years. Established networks are built to give the lifetime benefit of a supportive community beyond the traditional family model. Through the influence of parents and their combined networks, a child can learn how to build and develop their own network well into adulthood.

The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities is excited to have Texas Parent to Parent share how families can work together to create personal networks for family members with disabilities. Some might wonder:

  • What does a personal network look like?
  • How do personal networks benefit families?
  • When and how to get started?

Get the answers to these questions by joining us. You’ll also hear stories from real Texans of how personal networks helped their family live with disability in the moment and plan for the future. 


Jennifer Vincent, Lead Facilitator of the Texas Networks Connection Program at Texas Parent to Parent. Mrs. Vincent is the mother of three adult children. She is a licensed vocational nurse and has experience working with adults and children with disabilities in her personal nursing career. She has a successfully maintained personal network for her youngest daughter and is extremely passionate about facilitating networks for individuals with disabilities that need a sustainable natural support system in their community that will last the duration of their lifetime.

Personal Networks Slides

Personal Networks Transcript

Flying with Disabilities: An Updated Guide to Air Travel

Presented on December 19, 2023

The holidays make for one of the busiest times for air travel. While this is the peak travel period, many airports are bustling with people travelling to meet up with their friends and families all year long. Airports and airlines have been working to comply with federal laws requiring accessible travel, and with those efforts, there are new changes that travelers with disabilities should learn about to help navigate the world of air travel. We will discuss these features along with old and new challenges that still need to be addressed. New and veteran travelers with disabilities as well as their travel companions are invited to join us for this webinar on Accessible Air Travel.


Eric Lipp, Founder and Executive Director of Open Doors Organization (ODO). With Open Doors Organization, his mission is to make goods and services accessible in travel, tourism, and transportation. He has implemented training across multiple transportation services to educate employees on best practices when it comes to customers with disabilities.

Pat Pound, Consultant for Open Doors Organization (ODO). As part of her work with ODO, Pat has tested airline and airport websites and mobile apps for accessibility, provided guidance to travelers and industry representatives on best practices for travel with vision loss and service dogs, and engaged in multiple Transportation Research Board Projects.

Anthony Brown, ADA Program Manager for the Houston Airport System. Anthony processes accommodation requests and implements accessible policy for the Houston Airport System. He also is responsible for receiving, investigating, and resolving accessibility concerns from customers with disabilities.

Flying with Disabilities Slides

Flying with Disabilities Q&A

Flying with Disabilities Transcript

Accessible Parking in Texas

Presented on September 7, 2023

The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD) Accessibility and Disability Policy Webinar Series brought you a webinar on one of our most requested topics — Accessible Parking in Texas! With a new law on accessible parking passed by the 88th Legislature of Texas, GCPD hosted a webinar on September 7th, 2023 with expert panelists to answer frequently asked questions about accessible parking such as:

• What standards are required for building accessible parking spaces?

• How does the recent law change Accessible Parking?

• How do I qualify for an accessible parking placard or plate?

• What are volunteer parking enforcement programs?

• And many more!!

ASL Interpreters and CART Captioning are provided in this recording.


Marsha Godeaux, Architectural Barriers Program Specialist, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation

Chase Bearden, Deputy Executive Director, Coalition of Texans with Disabilities

Stefan Krisch, Registration Services Section Director, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

Melonie Curry, ParkHouston Senior Staff Analyst, City of Houston

Parking with Texas Accessibility Standards (TDLR) Slides

Recent Parking Law Changes (CTD) Slides

Disabled Parking Placards and Plates (TxDMV) Slides

Establishing a Volunteer Program (City of Houston) Slides

Accessible Parking in Texas Transcript

Using Plain Language

Presented on July 27, 2023

What is plain language? Plain language is a communication style that makes information easier to understand by:

  • Focusing on your audience.

  • Using shorter sentences.

  • Making basic word choices.

  • Writing like you’re speaking directly to the reader.

Using plain language is a powerful way to get ideas and concepts to your target audience. While plain language as an accommodation benefits people with disabilities, more people are using it because it offers easy and quick access to information.

On July 27th 2023, the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities hosted guest speakers from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and SUMM-AI to share:

  • An introduction to plain language and examples of how to apply it.

  • The growing impacts of technology on plain language development.

Join us to learn how plain language can benefit you and your organization. As part of GCPD’s Accessibility and Disability Series, the webinar is hosted on Zoom for Government. 

Captioning and ASL Interpreting available on this webinar.


Robin Berry, Publishing Coordinator for Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. 

Vanessa Theel, Co-Founder of tech start-up SUMM AI.

Introduction to Plain Language Slides

AI and Plain Language Slides

Using Plain Language Transcript

Hurricane Preparedness for the Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing

Presented on June 28, 2023

Hurricane season has arrived again in Texas. It’s time to be prepared! Did you know that hurricanes can travel as far as 200 miles inland?

Hurricanes can become dangerous storms that cause flooding and tornados as far as Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas. It takes just one bad weather experience to change your life if you’re not prepared for it. People with hearing loss have unique needs that may be different from other Texans.

The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities and the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services in Texas Health and Human Services are partnering to share common challenges for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Texans during hurricanes in addition to how to prepare for and respond to them.

Slides for Hurricane Preparedness for the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing

Transcript for Hurricane Preparedness for the Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing

Let's Get Unified: The FUNdamentals

Presented on May 9, 2023

You've likely heard of Special Olympics, but have you heard of Unified and what truly creates the power of inclusion?

On May 9th, the Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities will join leaders in the Special Olympics Texas movement as well as staff (and guest students!) from Port Neches-Groves High School to hear all about what makes Texas a leader in inclusion and how you can join and support the movement!

This one-of-a-kind webinar will combine two monumental subjects in one information-packed hour: Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools® (including UIL Interscholastic Sports) and FUNdamental Sports.

Unified Champion Schools® brings together students with and without intellectual disabilities to create accepting school environments, utilizing three interconnected components: Special Olympics Unified Sports, inclusive youth leadership, and whole school engagement.

FUNdamental Sports establishes individualized programs for athletes ages two or older who, due to their physical and/or developmental abilities, are working on foundational motor skills to prepare them for possible competitions in typical Special Olympics events.

Unifed Champion Schools® is in collaboration with Unified Interscholastic Sports and Activities.

Captioning and ASL Interpreting available on this webinar.

Slides for Let's Get Unified Webinar

Transcript for Let's Get Unified Webinar

Find past webinars, organized by topic, on the Webinar Archive page.