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The "Our Path Forward" theme embodies the principles of achieving diversity, equity, intersectionality, and accessibility driving the Independent Living community forward. Our Path Forward emphasizes the value of learning from today’s leaders while providing new and emerging leaders with the skills and expertise to succeed.  By joining forces and sharing our knowledge and proficiencies, we can make a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities and pave the way for a brighter future. Below are the workshops you will find at this years conference. 


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New York Medicaid and Home Care: The latest on changes to the system  w/ Valerie Bogart

A little over a year after the new NY Independent Assessor (NYIA) system for Medicaid home care went into effect-- imposing new bureaucratic hoops that can delay and often wrongly deny MLTC enrollment and home care services and cut the doctor out of the process-- it's been a rough journey, to say the least. At the same time, good changes are loosening asset and income levels for Medicaid and the Medicare Savings Program, making it easier to qualify. This is a 2 part workshop and attendance at both sessions is recommended.

Workshop Part 1       Workshop Part 2       WORD Format

The Path Forward: Remembering Willowbrook  w/ Bernard Carabello, Vicky Hiffa

The Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC), along with the New York State Digital and Media Services Center, produced a documentary highlighting the importance of the lessons learned from Willowbrook, the largest institution in the country for people with disabilities. This footage shocked the nation as it revealed the conditions and abuses that took place at the Staten Island state school. This exposure forever changed the treatment of people with disabilities in the state and across the country, leading to the closure of institutions such as these and laws that were enacted to protect people with disabilities. “The Path Forward: Remembering Willowbrook” is a celebration of inclusion in all aspects of community life. Join us for a screening of the documentary and panel discussion following. 

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Joining the Fight Against Alzheimer’s: The Role of Service Providers  w/ Erica Salamida 

Learn how service providers in all service systems have a role in joining the fight against Alzheimer’s and dementia. This workshop will review the warning signs of Alzheimer’s, the importance of seeking an early diagnosis, the latest research findings and the free programs and services offered by the Alzheimer’s Association. 

Workshop Materials

Developing a Marketing and Communications Plan for ILCs w/ Derrick Ek, Holly Saupp, Blaise Bryant, and Jeff Peters

Independent Living Centers (ILCs) vary in geography, size, and staffing resources to develop and execute marketing and communication plans. Let’s face it – telling the world who we are and what we do as ILCs is more important than ever. How do you develop and execute a marketing and communications plan without dedicated staff specifically tasked with making this happen? If you are eager to learn from dedicated IL staff who assist with these efforts, you won’t want to miss this session!

Workshop Materials

Empowering NY Job Seekers with Disabilities under ""SCION""(Systems Change and Inclusive Opportunities Network) w/ Lindsey Murphy & Erin McDonald

This presentation aims to provide insight into the ways SCION is working toward systems change efforts for more inclusive opportunities for people with disabilities in employment and to foster collaboration between regional DRCs and independent living partners.  

Workshop Materials

Developing Relationships with and Creating Systems Change in Medical Facilities w/ Erin Vallely

Despite legal protections, the disability and chronic illness community still faces healthcare disparities at much higher rates when compared to the general population.  This presentation will explore best practices when building relationships with medical facilities to create positive systems change by using a business plan approach.  Participants will learn how to identify the right targets within the organization, sell and pitch to decision makers, and upscale their partnerships once they have been established.
Workshop Materials

Centering Multiply Marginalized Disabled People in Advocacy Opposing Assisted Suicide w/ Anita Cameron & Max Rodriguez

This session is to raise awareness and understanding of assisted suicide within the Independent Living movement and inspire informed action by advocates to oppose assisted suicide policies. We will explore how race, class, and gender identity contribute to the systemic discrimination that makes assisted suicide such a dangerous policy in our profit-driven healthcare system. We will also provide training on best practices for advocating against assisted suicide in ways that center multiply marginalized disabled people.
Workshop Materials   Handout 1   Handout 2 

Successful Transition to Residential College: A Case Report w/ Isabelle Alexander-Klaboe

Transition to residential college presents barriers that could be overwhelming to those living with a disability. Through the application of a case report about a successful transition to college, we analyze the ILC’s significant role of facilitating communication and collaboration among stakeholders and evaluate resources to help foster a successful transition into college.

Workshop Materials      Accessible Materials

Pooled Trusts to Live Independently and Secure a Better Financial Future w/ Sarah Grimes

People with disabilities have a right to live independent lives in their communities. This session will discuss how a pooled trust can support a person’s ability to live independently, access services to self-direct care, work without fear of losing benefits, and even transition out of institutional settings to the home of their choice.

Workshop Materials     Workshop pdf.

Building Power to End the Home Care Shortage: The Independent Living Movement and the Fair Pay for Home Care Campaign w/ Julia Solow, Maria Samuels, Julie Farrar, Rashke Bradley 

According to the Fiscal Policy Institute, if New York fails to improve the quality of home care jobs, our home care shortage will reach 1.5 million by 2035. Participants will learn how Independent Living Centers have been building on their deep history of organizing through the present-day Fair Pay for Home Care campaign. We will strategize together around what action would be needed to end the home care shortage once and for all.

Workshop Materials  

Innovative Advocacy in the Age of AI and Digital Social Influence w/ Colleen Downs & Emma Stewart

IL Advocacy is improved by blending traditional practices with modern technology. Through the lens of creating and delivering a downtown Disability Art Show, this workshop will demonstrate how to build greater engagement and public awareness using traditional practices and digital tools.

Workshop Materials   Join Our 500 Calls     Toolkit


Empowering the next Generation of Disability Rights Leaders through Multigenerational Collaboration w/ Bianca Logan & Stephanie Orlando

Empowering the next generation of disability rights leaders is integral to advancing the movement with purpose and intention. A multi-generational approach bringing together pioneers and young leaders will ensure continued progress. When young leaders have a sense of hope, purpose and belonging they develop pride in this movement. Pioneers of the movement express interest in bringing up the next generation as they want to pass their torch. Collaboration between pioneers and young leaders provides an opportunity to share multigenerational pride in our movement.

Growing Adaptive Design in New York w/ Connor McGough & Tracy Fleming

ARISE Adaptive Design is a program that was developed in 2017 that uses simple, low-cost materials and a co-design community approach to build highly individualized equipment for individuals with disabilities to achieve greater independence, access, and opportunity. Learn how the adaptive design effort in Central New York assists individuals who have a unique device need, and how it went from a small volunteer activity to a program that is now thriving in the community.

Workshop Materials

Preventing Burnout- Processes for Self-Care, Preventing Burnout, and Caring for Staff w/ Paul Mikowski, Psy. D. & Alexandra Mikowski, MSW

Self-care is often viewed as an individual process when it should be thought of as how the agency is supporting and encouraging wellness.  Change is a process that has definable characteristics that that can either encourage or discourage progress.  The audience will get to reflect and discuss the personal and systemic obstacles to self-care to increase odds of success in thriving and preventing burnout.

Workshop Materials

 “The Examined Life” Mapping a new road to improve vocational supports w/ Hilary Nichols

From FDR to Stephen Hawking and countless others.  So many household names and change-makers are also people with disabilities.  In this workshop, we will look at the person behind the name and examine the secrets to their success.  What can we take away from the achievements of others to bring us closer to a fully integrated workforce?

Workshop Materials 

Sex and Disability: Advocating for Inclusive Sex Education w/ Ericka Miller & Bianca Logan

This presentation speaks on the need for CILs to advocate for sex education for disabled high schoolers. This discussion also includes continuing education through a CIL support program for folks over 18. 

History of Disability Rights, Disability Civil Rights and, The Independent Living Movement w/ Clifton Perez

Reviewing the history of Disability Rights and how through Disability Rights we reach a point where we demanded Disability Civil Rights and through this process of awareness activism and persistence, we achieved a method of combining these successes, and established a framework of how to utilize our abilities toward the development of living independently within the community, otherwise known as: The Independent Living Movement.
Workshop Materials    

Learning Exchange: Increasing Accessibility for Gender-Based Violence Survivors with Disabilities w/ Kelly Weiss

NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence is working in partnership with the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to develop and implement capacity building for DD/DV/RCP providers and increase accessibility for survivors with DD. The workshop will inform participants of project details/objectives and participants will be asked to give feedback on training initiatives and agency needs. The data gathered at this workshop will help inform future training, resources, and technical assistance.
Workshop Materials       pdf.

Social Emotional Learning; Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Children w/ Kelsie Seyler, MSW & Maria Dibble

Participants will be introduced to concepts of social emotional learning and how to apply them to working with children with I/DD. The mental health crisis that children are facing, exacerbated by COVID, has created many new challenges. This interactive presentation will use creative approaches and case studies to demonstrate how to apply social emotional learning techniques across all settings. Participants will learn skills to support, teach, and model positive behaviors for children, especially with I/DD.
Workshop Materials        Accessible Materials

Highlights from the AAAs, Our Partners in Service Delivery and Creating a More Inclusive New York w/ Kathryn Carroll 

Supporting Older Adults in Maintaining Autonomy. The presentation topics will include 1. a brief orientation of aging core services+ in relation to independent living centers and the presenter(s) roles, 2. a retrospective update about statewide efforts in which AAAs and ILCs are working together as advocates, 3. several specific examples of AAA activities that improve service delivery to disabled people or examples of AAAs advocating for disability rights.

Workshop Materials 

Going Underground: The Fight to Make New York City’s Subways Accessible w/ Joe Rappaport, Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, Torie Atkinson, & Jessica Murray

Activists, independent living centers and attorneys won a major victory in 2022 when they settled two lawsuits that require 95% of New York’s subway stations to be accessible by 2055. We’ll hear from a plaintiff, an activist and a lawyer about the legal and organizing work that won the case, and what still remains to be done.

JourneyDance™ for Seniors w/ Terry Andreozzi

JourneyDance™ is a transformational dance form that inspires you to get out of your mind and into your body.  Find your authentic self, your essential expression with full permission to show up exactly as you are. Chair dancing is optional and encouraged.  Free form movement with no steps to learn.

Housing Rights for Persons with Disabilities under the New York State Human Rights Law w/ John Herrion

This program will cover housing rights for persons with disabilities under the New York State Human Rights Law with a focus on reasonable accommodations.  The New York State Division of Human Rights’ enforcement of these protections will also be covered.

Workshop Materials

Accessing Public Benefits and Supports within the Community w/ Elizabeth Cox & Deven Springer

In this workshop you will learn how to spot the differences between SSDI and SSI, learn how employment and other earnings impact Social Security Benefits and Community Medicaid.  We will also explore the qualifications and requirements for each program in order to best plan for the future.

Workshop Materials

Employment Café w/ Carlos Martinez & Derrick Ek

Learn how AIM and BRIDGES have created community integrated employment opportunities for people with disabilities. BRIDGES operates Independence Café, using local vendors to offer beverages, snacks and unique gifts made by and for people with disabilities across several locations. AIM recently purchased AJ’s Deli, a popular local eatery, to use in conjunction with their Supported Employment Program for people with disabilities. These businesses have created new opportunities for existing employment services and even opened new doors to entrepreneurship.  




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COVID Policy: NYAIL encourages you to think about the safety of others while attending our conference. Please test prior to attending the conference. Masks will not be required in the conference area; however attendees must respect individual masking preferences. Masks and tests will be available at the conference center.