NEADS Conference 2000 - "Networking, Educating, Advocating: Delivering Success in the New Millennium"

Conference Report

Closing Plenary

Jennison Asuncion welcomed delegates to the closing plenary. Describing the session as an opportunity to debrief on the activities of the weekend, Asuncion noted it would also give members of the planning committee - who spent most of the conference mingling with delegates rather than in one specific workshop - a sense of what they had missed.

Asuncion reiterated that the conference was a team effort, and thanked the planning team, the sponsors, exhibitors, Golden Planners, NEADS national co-ordinator, Frank Smith, and the various others who helped make the event a success.

Good wishes were extended to Kent Hehr, leaving after serving on the NEADS board since 1994.

Delegates were asked to comment on the conference:

  • A caregiver voiced her thanks for the opportunity to attend and learn more about herself, as well as everyone else.
  • "Thanks for letting me come here and be part of something great. I will take the opportunity to try to come again next year [it was pointed out that the NEADS conferences are biannual, to the delegate's dismay]. You're doing great things and this should be modelled across the world."
  • "It's awesome that high school students were included for the first time. I wish all high school students had the chance to come and learn all this information."
  • "It was great interacting with everyone. Just because we're disabled doesn't mean we know everything about disabilities."
  • "I would have liked the opportunity to decide what group to sit with and answer the questions we wanted, rather than sit with the same table and answer all the same questions. There was a bit of repetition."
  • "I'm a service provider, and I learned more in two days here than I have in one-and-a-half years of serving students."
  • "The conference was in Montreal in 1994, Toronto in 1996, Ottawa in 1998 and again in 2000. It's my fourth conference, and every time, it's a great time to network and get together, and to see people from the rest of the country. Only for that reason, I wish I could be a lifelong student."

Asuncion congratulated the current NEADS board, and the newly elected 2001-02 members. "I wish you guys the best of luck."

"We have to leave here and go back to our lives, but let's not forget the lessons we've learned here - how to network and how to advocate," he said.

NEADS president, Joby Fleming, echoed Asuncion's sentiments, adding "Thanks to Jennison for his work as Chair. I ask everyone to give him a big round of applause."

The plenary ended with a reading of Landmark College student Christina Tedesco's poem, Jail. This powerful poem about living with dyslexia was also delivered after the Landmark College presentation in the Advocating Workshop.