On Tuesday, April 25th from 9 am to 4 pm, people with disabilities, families, teachers, and service providers from throughout Oregon will gather at Central Oregon’s Deschutes County Expo Center to participate in the 3nd annual Breaking Barriers Conference. The conference, guided by a vision for an inclusive community where barriers don’t exist and labels such as disability have no meaning, will be held in the Deschutes County Expo Center’s Sisters Conference Center on 3800 SW Airport Way in Redmond.

“This conference will serve as a platform to share the unique and diverse perspectives of all members of our community,” said Dianna Hansen, conference coordinator and Executive Director of CODSN. “Together we will learn to create a truly inclusive society, where all people will enjoy a fulfilling and self-directed life beyond labels.”

sue-swensonThis year’s keynote speakers are: Sue Swenson, who most recently served the Obama administration as acting assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services. She is the president-elect of Inclusion International, the United Nations-recognized disabled people’s organization for children with disabilities, their parents, and adults with intellectual disabilities; and



cristina-sanzCristina Sanz, who broke ground in high school when she was the first student with a disability to make the school’s drill team. As an adult, she works at a school and volunteers in a senior center. Sanz who is recently engaged, is also living her dream of becoming an actor as a cast member in the A&E show Born This Way.

The conference is open to the public and scholarships are available for individuals with disabilities and their family members. Registration is required. For more information visit: http://www.breakingbarriersoregon.com/

The Breaking Barriers conference is made possible through a collaborative effort of: Autism Society of Oregon; Central Oregon Disability Support Network; Deschutes County; FACT Oregon; Full Access High Desert ; High Desert Education Service District; High Desert Self Advocates; Opportunity Foundation; Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities; Oregon Department of Education; Oregon Department of Human Services – Employment First Initiative; Redmond School District; United Cerebral Palsy; and Vocational Rehabilitation Services.