Accessibility and Disability Policy Webinar Series

The Accessibility and Disability Policy Webinar Series (ADPWS) is free and real time captioning is provided for all sessions. Sessions are held on a monthly basis and cover a variety of topics regarding people with disabilities in ten issue areas, accessibility, communication, education, emergency preparedness, health, housing, recreation, transportation, veterans and workforce. Topics of interest can benefit employers, governmental entities, service providers and individuals with disabilities.

ADPWS is coordinated and hosted by the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities (GCPD). The GCPD Committee makes recommendations to the Governor and Legislature on disability issues; promotes compliance with disability-related laws; promotes a network of local committees doing similar work; recognizes employers for hiring and retaining employees with disabilities; and recognizes media professionals and students for positively depicting Texans with disabilities.

Upcoming Webinars

Understanding Hearing Loss: Communicating with Consumers and Employees who are Hard of Hearing

September 25, 2019 at 10:00 AM
This workshop will provide an overview of barriers to understanding speech, as experienced by your consumers and employees who are hard of hearing. Factors such as distance, background noise, poor room acoustics, and speaker accent, among other things, can create invisible barriers. The presenter, who has hearing loss, will provide strategies and options for working with people who are hard of hearing. Participants will develop a heightened sensitivity to and awareness of the myriad of challenges that individuals with hearing loss face in a variety of settings.

Presented by Rose Aird Minette, Health and Human Service, Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services.

Sign Up Online for Understanding Hearing Loss Webinar

Inclusive Emergency Planning and Personal Preparedness

September 26, 2019 at 2:00 PM
This webinar will identify what inclusive emergency plans are, why they are important to people with disabilities, and how to ensure community plans reflect the needs of all people in their community. We will explore strategies and practices that can be incorporated into daily activities to assist people with disabilities to become personally prepared for an emergency and to build asset-based communities of preparedness. This webinar will provide examples and best practices for every individual to become personally prepared and disaster resilient.

Presented by Ms. Skaggs, the National Director of Whole Community Planning and Training for BCFS Health and Human Services Emergency Management Division.

Sign Up Online for Emergency Preparedness Webinar

Previous Webinars

Develop a Comprehensive ADA/504 Transition Plan

Presented on July 24, 2019
All public entities with 50+ employees are required to have a transition plan in place that addresses structural changes necessary for achieving program accessibility. The presenter will review the practical steps to get started on those essential tasks. She will review the four distinct parts of a compliant transition plan:  

  1.    the planning process
  2.    determining the execution plan
  3.    the evaluation process
  4.    project management  

The presenter will outline how to create an ADA compliant transition plan that will ensure that individuals with disabilities are not excluded from programs, services and activities. An ADA compliant transition plan will help your entity avoid costly litigation and prevent your government funding from being at risk.

Presenter by Kristi Avalos, President and CEO of Accessology.

Hot Topics in Special Education Law

Recorded on July 20, 2019
Navigating ongoing hot-button topics in Texas special education can be confusing! In this session we will cover some developments from the end of the legislative session, as well as challenges surrounding the way Texas identifies students who would benefit from special education. Referred to as “child find”, the state has been working to make changes to better identify children who need special education services.

Dorene Philpot is a private practice attorney based in Galveston, Texas. She devotes her practice entirely to representing special needs children and their parents under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act.

Digital Accessibility the Invisible Civil Rights Challenge of the 21st Century

Presented on May 10, 2019
Often organizations may not know where to go or how to get started in making their websites and technologies accessible for people with disabilities. In celebration of Global Accessibility Awareness Day (May 16), the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities will host a webinar May 10, “Digital Accessibility the Invisible Civil Rights Challenge of the 21st Century.” Join us at 2:00 PM for a panel discussion with Sharon Rush of Knowbility, Glenda Sims of Deque, and Michael More of the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. These experts will share common examples of accessibility barriers and solutions, training opportunities to learn more about accessibility, accessibility testing/development tools and resources, answer questions, and share best practice examples for bringing organizations into compliance with accessibility laws and standards. 

Transition Through All Ages and Stages

Presented on May 7, 2019
Life is marked by transitions—preschool to kindergarten, middle to high school, and the innumerable transitions we experience on a daily basis both at home and in the community. Brenda will discuss practical ways parents and school staff can plan for transitions for students with disabilities at every age and every stage, with the ultimate goal of creating a fulfilling adult life. 

Presented by Brenda L. Nelson, M.S. of Nelson Educational Consulting.

Got Braille?

Presented on May 1, 2019
Parents and teachers of students with visual impairments are often asked if braille is ‘really necessary’ when so much of today’s content is available through electronic devices. The answer is, braille is absolutely necessary! Discover why braille is an important form of basic literacy, and why its value is not lessened in today’s world of smart phones, tablets, computers, and other assistive technology. 

Presented by Susan O'Brien, M.Ed. of the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Empowerment: Building Success with Employees with Autism

Presented on April 29, 2019
Presenters will offer expert advice on common workplace challenges such as sensory, social, and thinking and processing. Jennifer Allen with Aspergers101 will offer insight into the most common workplace challenges experienced by people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and offer specific suggestions for accommodations. Take this opportunity to hear more about how Vocational Rehabilitation and local workforce boards, public universities, and private employers have discovered how to successfully balance the needs of the business’ bottom line with the employment goals of people with Autism. Finally, the Director of Recruiting at H-E-B will share best practices and how they are attracting talented people on the Autism spectrum for jobs across the organization—from bagger to software developer. 

Making Employment a Reality

Presented on April 20, 2019
The thought of preparing your child for a career and helping them find a job can be overwhelming—especially for parents of children with disabilities. On-the-job success requires developing a broad skill set that goes beyond basic vocational skills.

Lori Doucet, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at Including Kids in Humble, Texas, will discuss the crucial, sometimes overlooked skills your child or young adult needs to help obtain, maintain, and be successful at their job.

A look at Pre-Employment Transition Services (ETS) and New Statewide Initiatives for Individuals with Disabilities

Presented on March 26, 2019
Intended audience: 

  • Parents and advocate of transition age students with disabilities age 14-21 
  • High School Transition Counselors
  • High School Vocational Adjustment Coordinators

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a primary funding source for public vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. WIOA requires that states provide Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to students with disabilities age 14-21. Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services added new opportunities for Pre-ETS. This session will focus on what you need to know about the TWC, Pathway to Careers Initiatives, including the Summer Earn and Learn, Explore STEM, Charting the Course, Pre-ETS Tools for Students: OnCourse and other available work experience services. Presented by Zenaida Olivas, State Office Transition Program Specialist for Texas Workforce Commission.

Top Tips for Tip Top Transition

Presented on March 9, 2019
This is the session for you if:

  • your child is in elementary or middle school and you want to know more about transition planning in the IEP; 
  • you’re in the midst of transition and feel overwhelmed; or 
  • you’re a seasoned veteran and looking for more resources to help your family or your friends as they move toward graduation and adult life!

Elizabeth Danner will review the key elements of transition planning, help families and students understand what they can expect, and share resources that can help you move with confidence to the Admission Review Dismissal (ARD) meeting where transition will be discussed, and to the Good Life that awaits beyond graduation!

Everything You Need to Know About Developmental Disabilities in Texas

Presented on March 5, 2019
In recognition of Developmental Disabilities (DD) Awareness Month, the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) will cover everything you need to know about DD – from the principles outlined in the DD Act originally passed in 1963 to the work being done today to build community capacity and change systems in Texas. In the webinar, you’ll find out about TCDD’s cutting-edge projects, strategic public policy efforts, and innovative public awareness campaigns. Participate in the webinar to learn how you can get involved and replicate TCDD initiatives in your community.

IEP - Present Levels to Measurable Annual Goals

Presented on February 16, 2019
Learn quality Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP) components along with measurable standards-based goals and objectives. Shemica will discuss why the PLAAFP is the cornerstone for creating a high-quality IEP. You will be able to use the tools learned to help advocate for appropriate IEP goals and services. Presented by Shemica Allen, the CEO of Personalized Learning Solutions, LLC.

Career Readiness and Hiring Programs for Texas Veterans

Presented on November 6, 2018
Learn from a Texas veteran how different state programs can help transitioning veterans. Webinar featuring Bob Gear Jr., Director of Texas Veterans Leadership Program with the Texas Workforce Commission. 

You will learn:

  • The value of employing Texas veterans
  • Tools to help translate military skills to civilian skills
  • Skills training grant opportunities for employers
  • Value of collaboration with local, regional and state partners
  • Importance of integration with Military Transition Centers

Business Partnerships for Disability Inclusion

Presented on October 30, 2018
Join us for a webinar to learn from other Texas businesses about how disability inclusion is helping their bottom line. You will learn why businesses want to hire people with disabilities; how technology changes are creating new opportunities and barriers for employees with disabilities; how to develop an inclusive supply chain; and identifying qualified applicants and how to retain employees with disabilities.

Disaster Preparedness and Family Members with Disabilities

Presented on September 29, 2018 
When planning ahead for a potential disaster, it is important for families to take into consideration the specific needs of all the members of your family. This session will give attendees strategies and techniques to plan more effectively for their unique family needs.

Preparing for the Unexpected: Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities

Presented on September 27, 2018
This session will highlight the importance of being proactive with preparing and the specific steps to take to ensure that you are ready for the unexpected. The presenter will provide preparedness tips surrounding specific disabilities, such as blind/low vision, deaf/hard of hearing, cognitive disabilities, etc. There will be opportunities for questions during the webinar and at the end of the session.

Tax Advantage Savings Program for People on SSI, SSDI and Medicaid

Presented on August 22, 2018
Join us for a presentation of the new Texas ABLE® Program - established by the Texas Legislature, signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, implemented by Comptroller Glenn Hegar - that allows certain persons with disabilities to open tax-advantaged savings accounts for qualified disability expenses. Individuals can save up to $100,000 while still maintaining eligibility for SSI, SSDI and Medicaid.

People with Disabilities: Know Your Voter Rights

Presented on July 17, 2018
In recognition of National Disability Voter Registration Week, the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities is hosting a webinar that will cover voter registration and education. Disability Rights Texas and ADAPT of Texas, both non-partisan groups, will share information related to voter registration and community engagement. This dialogue will help ensure equal opportunity and full participation in the voting process for people with disabilities.

Texas Parks and Wildlife: Accessible Outdoor Programs and Education

Presented on May 31, 2018
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) provides, hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. This webinar explores TPWD’s accessible programming in their education programs and parks. Presenters will discuss TPWD grants available to support adaptive programming in your community. The presentation will feature success stories from past grant recipients. 

Texas Students with Disabilities: Pre-Employment Transition Services

Presented on April  14, 2018
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is a primary funding source for public vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. WIOA requires that states provide Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to students with disabilities age 14-21. Recently Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services added new opportunities for Pre-ETS. This session will focus on what you need to know about the TWC, VR initiatives, including the Summer Earn and Learn program, a paid internship program for transition age youth with disabilities and other work-based learning programs available across the state. 

The Transition ARD

Presented on April 10, 2018
This session covers an overview of the special education process and requirements for the Transition ARD, vocational rehabilitation services for transition age students, and options for making educational and other decisions after the age of 18. 

Accessible Parking: Enforcement

Presented on March 20, 2018
Enforcement is a critical component of disabled parking abuse prevention. Texas law grants enforcement authorization to establish citizen volunteer enforcement programs. Constable 5 was the first in Travis County government to start such a program. Now entering its 23rd year, Disabled Parking Enforcement continues its commitment to provide equal access to citizens with disabilities. Join Constable 5 staff as they present an overview of disabled parking laws and describe how their volunteer program works.

In addition, Mack Marsh with Access Empowerment will join the session. Mack will share information about Parking Mobility, an education and enforcement program, designed to efficiently address accessible parking abuse in your community. Innovative technology, citizen engagement and effective education has proven to reduce accessible parking abuse and recidivism.