WMU News

Rights of people with disabilities subject of lecture

March 11, 2004

KALAMAZOO--An expert on how to help people with disabilities live fuller lives comes to the Western Michigan University campus later this month.

Dr. Michael J. Ward, a consultant with HEATH Resource Center at George Washington University, will speak from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, March 18, in Room 208 of the Bernhard Center. His presentation is titled "The Self-Determination of Individuals with Disabilities: Are We Moving from Rhetoric to Reality." The lecture is free and open to the public.

Ward formerly served as executive director of the Arizona Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities, overseeing an office that established and maintained collaborative efforts among governmental and private agencies and monitored and evaluated public policy to serve people with disabilities. Before that, he was director of the National Center for Self-Determination and 21st Century Leadership at the Oregon Health Sciences University.

Ward also has served as a self-advocacy and leadership consultant with the Community Partnerships Project sponsored by the Oregon Developmental Disabilities Council. He previously was employed for 18 years with the U.S. Department of Education, serving as chairperson of the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services' workgroup for the self-determination initiative.

While on campus, Ward also will meet with people from educational and service agencies in the greater Kalamazoo area. They will be able to meet informally with Ward and ask questions. That session is 2 to 3 p.m., also on March 18, in the Educational Studies conference room, Room 3504 of Sangren Hall. People wishing to attend the informal session should call the WMU Department of Educational Studies at (269) 387-5935 to register.

Ward's visit to WMU is being coordinated by the Department of Educational Studies and the Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies. Besides those two departments, additional sponsors include the departments of Psychology and Speech Pathology and Audiology and the Graduate College.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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