Guest Speaker Played Pivotal Role in Creating the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
MobilityWorks of Birmingham was a proud sponsor and exhibitor at the annual meeting of The Alabama Association for Persons in Supported Employment (AL-APSE) and The Alabama Council for Developmental Disabilities (ACDD) held June19-21, 2013 in Montgomery, AL.
The theme for this year’s conference was “Catch the Wave…Surf Toward Employment First” and featured a variety of workshops and sessions focusing on employment and related issues for individuals with disabilities. Attendees included rehabilitation counselors, employment specialists, rehabilitation technology specialists, rehabilitation supervisors and administrators, legislators, individuals with disabilities and their family members, as well as other professionals working in the capacity of employing people with disabilities.
One of the conference’s highlights included a presentation by Dr. Richard Pimentel. Known for using the phrase, “Most people go to their graves with their music still inside them,” Dr. Richard Pimentel, a veteran disabled in Viet Nam, told his story within the context of the United States Civil Rights Movement of persons with disabilities and the development of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He focused on how each of the attendees can make a difference in the lives of their clients.
Conference attendees and exhibitors were treated to a viewing of “Music Within,” a 2007 movie starring Ron Livingston as Dr. Richard Pimentel and chronicled the successes and trials of Dr. Pimentel’s life. Music Within chronicles how Dr. Pimentel entered the military, lost his hearing, and then went on to champion disability causes. After returning form the war, he becomes good friends with Art Honneyman (played by Michael Sheen) who has Cerebral Palsy. This experience propels him into being an advocate and beyond. Now an acclaimed speaker, as a child he didn’t speak a word until age six. He was called “retarded” by a school guidance counselor. His “home” was the dressing room of a strip club after being abandoned by his mother. Yet, he was able to overcome those challenges (and his loss of hearing) to become a major influence in reshaping the public’s perception of disabled individuals. To learn more, watch the Music Within movie trailer below.[youtube width=”350″ height=”197″]//www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM5uXgbg4QM&feature=youtu.be&t=7s[/youtube]