2018 AHEAD Conference Program Highlights

As you look through the wide variety of concurrent and poster presentations offered this year, you’ll see distinctive icons flagging sessions that focus on highlighted conference topics. We encourage you use this information to enhance your conference experience and to focus your attendance if you are looking for a specific emphasis in your professional development.


Thursday, July 19, and Friday, July 20, 8:00 am - 8:45 am

Start your day with three dynamic Talks inspired by the famous TED Talks and enjoy a morning coffee or tea with colleagues. AHEAD Talks are personal story-like presentations designed to have impact the audience on a personal level, providing insights, inspiration, and an opportunity for reflection. This year’s Talks include:

  • Leverage Your Liability! Presented by Melanie Thornton, University of Arkansas  Partners for Inclusive Communities
  • Love to Lead. Lead with Love. Presented by Adam Meyer, University of Central Florida
  • Philosophical v. Practical: How do you do business: Presented by Kristie Orr, Texas A&M
  • Embracing Helicopter Parents: Assets not adversaries. Presented by Amy Osborne, Thomas More College
  • The Gifts of Imperfection in Disability Services. Presented by Adam Crawford, The Ohio State University
  • Sexual Assault & Disability – It’s not just about Title IX

Featured Presentations

Wednesday, July 18, 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm & Friday, July 21, 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Twice during the conference, we’ll highlight popular presentations on important and emerging issues. The following sessions will be offered with minimal competition and in large venues to allow for large audiences:

  • OCR Year in Review; Mary Lou Mobley, Office of Civil Rights
  • Creative approaches to Disability Justice: Entry points on campus for awareness, access, and full participation; Susan Burch, Sue Kroeger, Melanie Thornton, Courtney Cioffredi, Joan Ostrove
  • Legal Year in Review; Paul Grossman & Jo Anne Simon
  • Being There: Attendance modifications & assignment deadlines; Jamie Axelrod
  • Cross-Cultural Competence as a Tool to Support Identity Development of Students with Disabilities; Autumn Wilke, Maure Smith-Benanti
  • Online & Distance Education; Kelly Hermann, University of Phoenix

Get the Most of AHEAD!

Over lunch on Friday (12:45-1:45), we’ve planned two special presentation/conversations to support your engagement with AHEAD: a session to update you on the resources available and an opportunity to break into presenting with support. We hope you can join us for each.

AHEAD: More Than Just a Conference!
Marcelle Jones, M.S., Purdue University
Gavin Steiger, M.J.Ed., University of Houston Clear Lake

If you are new to AHEAD or disability resources/services in higher education or wanting to learn more about AHEAD’s resources, this meeting is for you! Representatives from AHEAD's Standing Committee on Membership Development and other AHEAD leaders will share the many resources available through AHEAD. We’ll highlight AHEAD’s online communities and resources, professional development events, and networking opportunities.

Present at the 2019 Conference!
Karen Pettus, Ph.D. University of South Carolina

AHEAD is committed to supporting members’ professional development and fostering the diverse views and experience that newer members bring to our profession. Therefore, we are pleased to introduce a New Presenter Mentorship. If you haven’t presented at a national conference before and are interested in taking that step at AHEAD’s annual conference in Boston in 2019, join us! We’ll talk about the call for presentations process, give you resources to support your proposal, and discuss plans for providing support throughout the year leading up to Boston.

Photo Voice Exhibit in the Exhibit Hall

AHEAD is pleased to welcome Neelam Agarwal, Ed.D. and the Photo Voice project from the University of Texas at El Paso. The Photovoice method, is an evidence-based practice that has proved successful in engaging people with disabilities. At UTEP, Photovoice participants were primarily majority-minority students who experience the societal marginalization of living with a visible or non-apparent disability. Fifteen participants took pictures and wrote stories about issues that impact them. The exhibit provided insight about the students’ experiences, concerns, and successes to university stakeholders and community partners.

The 70273 Project in the Exhibit Hall

At last year’s conference, AHEAD members participated in an international project to honor the lives of more than 70,273 disabled people deemed “life unworthy of life” by  the Nazis. AHEAD members created enough quilt blocks to make two quilts. The finished quilts, also pieced together and finished by AHEAD members, return to the Boston conference. Be sure to take a look. Thank you to all those who participated! Learn more at http://www.the70273project.org

Sensory Room Sponsored by the Autism/Aspergers SIG

As the population of students with Autism and others with sensory sensitivities continues to increase on our campuses, a sensory room or meditation room is a way to give students a place to calm. Sensory rooms or meditation rooms are useful in residence halls, student centers, academic buildings and are often used by students, staff and faculty alike. People can use the rooms to calm when they are stressed or overstimulated. On one campus, a reduction in conduct code violations was cited when the sensory room opened in a residence hall. The space does not need to be very large and expensive furnishings are not required. Quiet is required in the room and any music must be listened to through headphones or earbuds. This is one example of what you can do, please talk with a member of the Autism/Aspergers SIG for more information and alternatives.