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


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Recent Webinars

(Recordings are accessed by clicking on Webinar titles)

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

Social Security Disability Benefits 101 

March 29 2023

When a person experiences a disability that makes it difficult to work or get supported by family members, our federal government offers a safety net program that helps with financial and medical benefits through the Social Security Administration.

If you have applied for Social Security disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, you probably found the application to be challenging. You’re not the only one! According to the Social Security Administration, the award rates for disability benefits have been decreasing annually due to non-medical reasons. This means most applications are denied or have their decisions delayed because of common errors during the application process. The Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities is committed to help qualified people with disabilities and their families understand how to access their Social Security benefits.

Matt Dickens, the Accessibility and Disability Rights Coordinator, presented a Social Security Disability Benefits 101 webinar on March 29th at 2 p.m.  Come join us to learn more about:

  • Types of available Social Security benefits
  • How to check your eligibility for benefits
  • Common pitfalls and how to avoid them
  • Resources for advanced problem solving

Improve your chances of getting Social Security benefits and maximize your benefit payment!

Presented by Matt Dickens, GCPD Accessibility and Disability Rights Coordinator.

Captioning and ASL Interpreting available on this webinar.

Slides for Social Security Disability Benefits 101 Webinar

Transcript for Social Security Disability Benefits 101 Webinar

National Association of Governor's Committees Meeting on Adult Changing Tables 

Presented on March 2, 2023

On Thursday, March 2nd at 2:30 CST, the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities hosted a quarterly meeting of the National Association of Governor’s Committees (NAGC). The topic was Adult Changing Tables and Changing Rooms including presentations on:

  1. Recent updates to the International Building Code standards for adult changing tables developed by the International Code Council
  2. The landscape around the country for implementation of adult changing tables
  3. A brief presentation from the Iowa Department of Transportation on their best-practices implementation of adult changing tables at their highway rest areas.
  4. Innovations including portable adult changing station solutions
  5. Q&A for panel of experts.
  6. Next steps for advocacy at the local state and national level.


Effective Advocacy on Disability Topics with Texas Legislature 

Presented on February 27, 2023

It’s that time again – the Texas Legislature is back at the Capitol and in session! Your elected Representatives and Senators will be considering legislative proposals for laws that impact the lives of all Texans. The legislative session is your time to let your representatives know what they can do for you!

Are you curious how to share your thoughts on important disability policy issues with the Texas Legislature? Do you wonder how you can get access? Get ready to learn more about the Texas Legislature and making sure your voice is heard!

On Monday, February 27th at 10:00 AM, the Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities hosted the Effective Advocacy webinar with expert panelists who answered questions about how Texans with disabilities and their allies can successfully access the state legislative process and engage with their elected representatives about disability topics. 

Presenters: Matt Dickens, GCPD Host; Dennis Borel, Executive Director of Coalition of Texans with Disabilities; Scott Daigle, Public Policy Director of Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities.

Vocational Rehabilitation: Helping Students with Disabilities Prepare for the Future 

Presented on September 21, 2023

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act protects the rights of students with all disabilities. However, the transition planning process for students receiving 504 services in schools differs from those receiving Special Education services. You may be missing out on state services that can help you transition from high school to college or the workforce.

Join the Governor's Committee on People with Disabilities and the Texas Workforce Commission for a webinar on Wednesday, September 21 3:45 PM where we will highlight Texas Workforce Solution's Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services, including an overview of Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS), how to connect with a VR counselor, what info is needed to apply for services, and more. This session is intended for high school students with disabilities (ages 14-22) and their parents. If you plan to attend college, or are looking to explore careers, gain hands-on work experience, and develop a vocational goal for your future, this webinar is for you!

Presenters: Alyssa Kee & Kevin Markel, with Texas Workforce Commission, Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

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