Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

Americans Come Together to Focus on the Americans with Disabilities Act

MU's national symposium most comprehensive conference on the ADA

April 3, 2008

Story Contact:  Jennifer Faddis, (573) 882-6217,

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Americans from a wide range of backgrounds will come together next month with a common purpose: to create accessible communities by implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act. The University of Missouri's Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC) - Great Plains ADA Center will host a National Americans with Disabilities Act Symposium at the America's Center in St. Louis, Mo., May 12 - 14. The Center, part of the MU School of Health Professions, is one of just 10 in the nation.

The symposium offers more than 50 sessions on a wide range of issues related to the ADA, from accessible voting to hiring people with disabilities in the workplace. The sessions are presented by nationally recognized experts and employees from the federal agencies that are involved in implementing the ADA, such as the U.S. Department of Justice. 

"This symposium is the premiere conference on the Americans with Disabilities Act," said Julie Brinkhoff, associate director of the Great Plains ADA Center. "The wide range of issues covered in the sessions attract people from a variety of professions. This is one of the few opportunities for the public, people with disabilities, business owners, employers, advocates, government officials and ADA experts to learn from one another and share ideas."

For example, Brinkhoff said this may be the only opportunity the director of an independent living center, an architect and building code official would be able to discuss problems encountered when trying to adhere to ADA guidelines and create simple solutions.

A unique feature of the 2008 ADA Symposium is a town meeting by the U.S. Access Board, the agency responsible for developing accessibility guidelines.

"Twice a year, the U.S. Access Board holds town meetings that are open for public comment. The board uses the feedback from these meetings to create new recommendations to help give greater access to people with disabilities," Brinkhoff said. "This year, the board is meeting at the beginning of the symposium and will focus on airport accessibility. This meeting is free and open to the public and is an opportunity to make a real difference through public comment."

The symposium also includes an expo of disability products and services, an assistive technology fair and a wheelchair golf demonstration. The expo is free and open to the public.

ADA Centers are a project of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The Centers are authorized to provide information, materials, training and technical assistance concerning the Americans with Disabilities Act and related disability laws. The Great Plains ADA Center at MU offers technical assistance to anyone.

For more information or to register visit the National ADA Symposium web site or call 1-800-949-4232.