The Disability Experience Project at the AZ UCEDD

May 16, 2011

Ted Garland
Ted Garland

As an Institute for Human Development's Project Specialist for the Disability Experience, Ted Garland has come full circle.  Circa 1976, Ted graced the hallways as an 18 month old in the Infant Stimulation Program.  In 2007, thirty-one years later, Ted reacquainted himself to IHD as a national service AmeriCorps member.  Ted stated, "I love working here.  The people are so darn supportive.  I believe in what IHD is doing in advancing an all-age, cross-disabilities program that enhances disabilities throughout the lifespan.  IHD helped me in the 70's and now I am giving back to the institute that helped me in my development.  There is no place that I would rather work then here".

Ted is a hot-button issues type of guy with CSPAN and ESPN queued in his TV as favorites.  With his fingers on the pulse of the political world and his passion for the Arizona sports culture in check, Ted currently participates in presentations for the Disability Experience.  He speaks of the Disability Experience as an "ever evolving process towards a more inclusive Arizona".  He reminds people that in order to make inclusion permanent, "we have to practice it every day.  That is the essence of the Disability Experience". 

In sharing one last thought, Ted expands the role of the Disability Experience and says, "Disability is a global matter.  Imagine what a world of difference it would make if we had people with disabilities contributing.  Think about it". 

The Disability Experience

The goal of the Disability Experience project is to engage the community (e.g., school groups, business and government organizations, non-profits) in conversation on how the general public can truly welcome and include people of all abilities into the life of the community. The project has also developed a web-based module that is currently available to university faculty for infusion into any course.

We schedule presentations during which people with disabilities lead open, and sometimes frank discussions about the disability experience and the supports that everyone needs, including people without disabilities, to lead a fulfilling life. The Disability Experience team utilizes Power Point slides to guide discussion topics that include perception of disability, person-first language, disability etiquette, discrimination, and career opportunities in the disability field (if participants are high school students). The team concludes the discussion by asking participants to share examples of things they can do in their own lives to promote greater understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities in all aspects of life in our communities.

Please contact Lynne Corbin (Lynne.Corbin@nau.edu) or Kathy Mahosky (Katherine.Mahosky@nau.edu) for more information.