The Arc Tennessee to feature big ideas event

Staff Reports • Feb 7, 2018 at 2:53 PM

A better future for people with disabilities is the theme of an untraditional community seminar Feb. 17 in Nashville. 

Sponsored by the Arc Tennessee, “The Future of Disability: A Big Ideas Event” at the Inn at Opryland, will bring together diverse presenters to share their experience, vision and call to action for a better future.

Featuring 14 focused and passionate 20-minute talks, presenters will highlight positive paths forward in many areas, including education, transportation, housing, supporting staff in sustainable ways, individual rights, communication, fashion, self-esteem and the arts. Entertainment and networking opportunities will be woven in throughout the day.

Born out of a brainstorming collaboration of parents, professionals and self-advocates known as the Big Idea Committee, the seminar is the first of its kind. But it is not the first time Nashvillians have played an integral role in the progress of the disability movement. In fact, the Arc U.S. was formed from a collaborating group of parents of people with disabilities who met in 1950 in Nashville. The Arc Tennessee was formed at another Nashville meeting a year later. Although the seminar is about what’s next and visions of what the future can be, the Arc Tennessee board past president John Shouse will open the program with a reminder for attendees of how far Arc has come.

Among the leaders who will share their own groundbreaking work and stories will be Alicia Searcy, Jen Vogus, John Dickerson, Jessica Allen, Jenny Morton, Susan Arwood, Nick Filarelli, Keivan Stassen, Nan Kennedy, Andrea Barbour, Larry McGoogin, Alison Gauld, Erik Carter and Scott Finney. Jeremy Norden-Paul, who works with the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, will serve as emcee for the event.

Searcy is Nashville’s fashion and style blogger with a disability. Her brand, Spashionista, promotes representation and garment options for women of every age, size and ability level.

Carter is Cornelius Vanderbilt professor of special education at Vanderbilt University. His research and teaching focuses on evidence-based strategies.

McGoogin is an assistant director in the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s long-range planning division. His broad-based background includes master planning and major investment studies.

Links to registration, agenda, session descriptions and presenter bios are available at thearctn.org. The seminar flier may be found at thearctn.org/Assets/Docs/Future-of-Disability-a-Big-Ideas-event.pdf. 

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